Coal Preparation

Design of Sampling Systems

Coal Preparation » General

Published: July 01Project Number: C8046

Get ReportAuthor: Chris Clarkson, Cameron Dorr, Darren Edward | C Clarkson & Associates, Sedgman

Researchers have developed a specification to enable Australian coal operators to design reliable and accurate sampling systems suited to their individual needs.

Many sampling systems installed in Australian coal mines are unreliable, inaccurate and require a high degree of operator intervention. Their construction is also inappropriate ? based on laboratory style equipment, light-weight conveyor systems and non-site standard motors, positioners and electric switch gear.


The primary objective of this project was to develop a generic functional specification for the design and installation of coal sampling systems that address the mechanical, electrical and safety standards necessary for the systems to operate as key components of modern coal quality management systems. The specification was prepared as a pro-forma document (in software as well as hard copy) so project engineers could customise the specification to suit their requirements.

A secondary objective was to prepare summary justifications for equipment selection drawn from the site audits to help site engineers in the formal justification process.


A formalised set of questions was generated and forwarded to seven major companies involved in the design, supply and maintenance of sampling equipment for the Australian coal industry. Three companies provided comprehensive responses to the questions.

Researchers audited 13 existing sampling plants at six different sites to determine how well the sampling system addressed sampling protocol, mechanical/electrical/control system availability, housekeeping and cost. The result reflected consensus on a number of issues but also highlighted significant differences in opinion regarding some others.

Key conclusions from the survey are:

  • There was universal agreement that the coal industry is not currently being well served by the existing system of design and installation of sampling systems. The basic reason appears to be due to lack of technical know-how on behalf of the client combined with commercial pressure on the service provider to supply the lowest cost system without due regard to technical and engineering issues.
  • One form of contract used is an initial detailed engineering study to tightly define the specification of the installation followed by a competitive tender for supply and installation. However, survey respondents argued that a more flexible EPCM style of arrangement with a reputable service provider could also provide a satisfactory technical and operating solution, but at a lower cost.
  • It is possible to design in flexibility of sampling systems to allow for future changes in sampling requirements, but there will always be a trade-off with cost.
  • There was widespread disagreement regarding the most suitable form of individual sampling elements. The researchers felt this was cause for concern, because they believe there are valid technical reasons why one form of sampling element should be preferred over another, such as roll crushers in preference to impact type crushers.
  • There was agreement that, in the past, the general maintenance of samplers had not been successful, but other than a requirement for regular inspections and audits, there was little agreement regarding the best means to address these problems.
  • Access to critical areas of sampling systems was one of concern, especially with the need to address safety issues while still providing ready access to the system. It was suggested that on-line control charts could be used and sensors could be used more appropriately to indicate blockages.
  • The area of safety should be extended beyond the immediate sampling system to include broader issues such as location of sampling systems in towers without suitable access and routine cleaning, and lifting devices to allow safe handling of sampling drums and maintenance items.
  • One response included a very useful discussion of criteria that need to be established to define the material that is to be sampled. Of importance are issues such as the need to define the actual physical topsize of material likely to be sampled rather than nominal topsize, as it only requires a few lumps of oversize material out of thousands of tonnes of coal being sampled to create a blockage.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C34019Longwall Bretby Cable Handling Monitoring With Fibre Optics

This project examined the potential of using fibre optic sensing tec...

C28028The Inclusion Of High Interest Native Plants In Mine Site Restoration Programs: Propagation, Translocation And Field Re-Introduction

This report synthesises over 10 years of ex situ and in si...

C27049Mine Machine Radar Sensor Integration

The aim of this project was to develop an integrated radar sensor an...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C34029Validation Of Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) As A Rapidly Deployable Field Technology To Estimate Coal Quality

Rapid evaluation of a coal resource by in-situ characterisation dow...

C34028Guidelines For Assessment Of Geotechnically Safe And Stable Post-Mining Landforms

The purpose of this project was to develop a guidelines document as ...

C34016Elements In Coal – A Start-To-End Analysis

This project explores the fate and concentration potential of critical e...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C26016Determining The Benefits Of Online Thickener Underflow Rheology Measurements

The aim of this project is to determine how useful the rheology meas...

C33056Modelling And Control Of Classifying Cyclones

Hydrocyclones are one of the key technologies for the classification...

C28056Surface Alloying Of Centrifuge Baskets And Sieve Bends Screen Surfaces To Increase The Service Lifetime

The main objective of this project was to improve the wear resistanc...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C33066Washability And Distribution Of Sulfur And Trace Elements For Different Size And Density Fractions Of Raw Coals

Based on the hypothesis that the levels of sulfur and other toxic tr...

C34060In-Situ Investigation Of Coke Structure Formation Under Stamp Charged Coking Conditions

Stamp charged cokemaking has emerged as an effective technique to im...

C34062Improving The Classification Of Microstructure Distribution In Coke CT Images Using Deep Learning And Lineal Path Calculations

This project builds on a number of earlier projects that have helped...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL)

This third and final stage of this project was the culmination of a ...

C29069Low-Cost Catalyst Materials For Effective VAM Catalytic Oxidation

Application of ventilation air methane (VAM) thermal oxidiser requir...

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook