New Acland Mine is trialling sorting technology more commonly used to process minerals in a coal application, improving the quality of feed into the washplant.
X-ray and high-pressure air jets are used to eject reject material from raw coal before it enters the operation’s washplant.
New Acland washplant manager Robert Rashleigh said the site could potentially be the first Australian coal mine to install this sorting technology in its washplant.
“While this technology is currently used in processing mineral ores like tungsten and nickel, our trial has shown that it can also process New Acland coal with good results,” Mr Rashleigh said.
“To put it simply, using this sorting technique is attractive to us because it means we can put a higher quality raw coal through the washplant, which in turn means a higher yield.
“Basically, by sending some of the coal through this sorter first, our washplant would be doing less work getting rid of reject, and more work processing product coal.”
New Hope Group principal process engineer Michael Rodgers is responsible for overseeing the trial and said the results from phase one were currently being reviewed.
“Right now we’re evaluating the outcomes from phase one of the trial, which put New Acland coal through a sorting unit in Melbourne at a Steinert Australia testing facility,” he said.
“If New Hope gives us the nod to proceed with the technology we’ll move into phase two of the trial which could potentially see us bring a sorting unit onsite to New Acland next year.
“Using the new technology at the mine site will let us test it on a large scale and test how it interacts with the rest of our washplant operations.”