BASF CSIRO collaborate improve coal recovery

BASF and CSIRO collaborate to improve coal recovery

10:34 AM, 17th August 2012
BASF and CSIRO collaborate to improve coal recovery

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: A collaboration between CSIRO and BASF has delivered a process that improves the recovery of coal particles that are otherwise lost to tailings, making coal production more efficient and potentially increasing revenue for coal producers. CSIRO’s Coal Grain Analysis tool had previously identified that particles of some coal types were difficult to recover from flotation methods. Introducing BASF’s block copolymers as promoters to the fine coal slurry boosted yields and has the potential to significantly increase the availability of saleable product coal.

“High quality coking coal is a key ingredient for steel production and critical for the development of emerging economies of Asia. This new coal particle recovery process offers a significant improvement in the recovery of coal, maximising yield and lowering production cost,” said Neil Fitzmaurice, Head, BASF’s Industry Group Mining Asia Pacific.

Coal is naturally hydrophobic and froth flotation is a recognised process in recovering fine coal. However, there are significant variations in reactions of different types of coal. “We can determine flotation response of specific coal types by the Coal Grain Analysis method. The introduction of BASF’s novel chemical reagent into the process increases the attachment of particular coal particles to the flotation bubbles,” explained Dr Bruce Firth, Research Manager for Coal Preparation, CSIRO.

According to the results of laboratory studies and plant scale tests, the addition of block copolymers improves recovery for both fine and coarse coal particles. The new process requires only minor modifications to existing industry methods and BASF is in the process of commercialising the flotation promotion agent. The research project was supported by the Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program whose mission is to research, develop and demonstrate technologies that lead to the safe, sustainable production and utilisation of coal.

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