Dry beneficiation of low-grade coal
The CSIR and Coaltech are investigating waterless methods to beneficiate coal.
Coal is very important to the South African economy with almost 90% of the electricity generated in the country coming from coal-fired power stations. Coal is also required as a fuel and reductant in the metallurgical industry and a source of raw material for the chemical and petroleum industries. Coal is furthermore used to generate heat and steam in small industries and households.
South Africa is a water-stressed country. Traditional methods employed in coal processing plants to improve the quality of coal (as mined) to the quality required by industry, require large amounts of water. It is possible to process coal without using water and there are several benefits associated with using dry processing – most notably a reduced environmental impact.
Dry processes are also less expensive – both in capital and operating costs. Unfortunately, dry processing techniques are less efficient than the traditional water-based methods and it is therefore necessary to conduct research aimed at identifying and evaluating suitable dry-processing technologies for application in the South African coal industry.
Johan de Korte