Coal Preparation

Maintenance Requirements in Coal Preparation Plants

Coal Preparation » General

Published: March 99Project Number: C8063

Get ReportAuthor: Joe Sanders | Coalproc

ACARP commissioned this study into maintenance issues of coal preparation plants, with the aim to identify areas where research may result in potentially substantial improvements.

The scope of the study included:

  • Review current maintenance practice
  • Assess approaches to condition monitoring
  • Review of wear resistant materials.

The study was carried out by a combination of:

  • Telephone contact with all plants in Australia
  • Direct interview of maintenance management supervisors at selected plants.
  • Interview of selected suppliers of maintenance intensive equipment, eg centrifuges, pumps and screens.
  • Consultation with materials suppliers, regarding management of wear and tear.

Being the result of a survey, this report is a series of findings.

  • Even with generous allowances for local circumstances, geography and other constraints, the industry has a huge unused capacity in the order of well over 100 million tonnes per annum. The need for capacity cannot be used for justification for R&D.
  • Maintenance accounts of 41% of washing costs.
  • The best achievable cost savings from longer equipment life and less maintenance labour are estimated at between 30 - 50 cents per tonne of feed. There is no single area, other than wear related expenses, which could have a major impact on this potential saving. For maximum savings all areas of maintenance need to be improved.
  • Research into maintenance problems can be justified only by improved productivity through reducing delays, or reduction in operation costs.

The majority of plants have a computer based maintenance management system. In larger groups the company selects the overall management system that also handles plant maintenance. Plant maintenance is not the main purpose but only a relatively small part of the system.

Single site companies and smaller plants select the system to suit maintenance specifically. None of the systems considered have received complete approval by plant managers. The main complaint is that systems are unfriendly, intimidating and cumbersome to use. A "snap sample" of users shows that there are several systems that are simpler and relatively cheap for use by single site operations. Careful selection and thorough training are essential for the successful application of any system. The availability of simple systems at reasonable costs negates the justification for any R&D for a computer based maintenance management systems.

Manufacturers and designers were criticised for their slow responses to adopt modifications and improvements made by plants.

Every manager interviewed considered most of their problems manageable given sufficient resources and budget.

From the responses the main conclusion is that only wear stands out as a topic that causes most concern and represents the most frequently attended and costly parts of the maintenance system. All other issues appear to be concerns for manufacturers and suppliers, or a matter of adequate resources at plant level.

The development of superior wear materials is suggested for research. Research should be with a reputable commercial organisation or with an academic or research organisation that has the key expertise in this field. Composite materials may be a promising target. Benefits would extend into all areas of the mining industry, funding may be joint by other interested parties.

The compilation of a comprehensive guide of wear materials available in general and in use by the coal industry in particular is recommended.

There is a genuine need for a simple user friendly management system based on simple computer techniques. The survey results suggest that there are several relatively simple systems available for smaller single site plants. Careful selection and thorough training should ensure that one of these systems could be successfully implemented. No R&D could be recommended for the development of management systems.


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