The CSIRO and the Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program (ACARP) have released a report on dense medium in coal preparation, calling for a handbook of coal preparation guidelines.
Dense medium is a method for the separation of clean coal from raw coal with the use of finely ground magnetite.
The use of dense medium in the coal industry produces up to $25 billion of coal a year.
The aim of the report was to quantify the use of dense medium and provide a clear framework for future people in the industry to follow.
“There’s a lot of old wives tales and secret recipes as to how to make your medium,” CSIRO researcher and co-author of the report Bruce Firth told Australian Mining.
“That was all very well while you had people who knew what they were doing, but a lot of people are now retiring and leaving the industry.
“We indicated there was a need to try and quantify the situation.”
The report identified some of the most important factors in dense medium, highlighting areas such as the size of the magnetic materials, and the amount of non-magnetics required.
According to the report, stability and performance of dense medium can be improved through control of these two areas.
The report found that definitive guidelines for the coal preparation industry are needed.
“The long term aim is to provide a handbook for the Australian coal industry to allow the younger metallurgists to be able to get a quick understanding of how really to operate the dense medium circuits,” Firth said.