Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 112 num. 6 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Innovation from fluidization</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>IFSA 2011 - Industrial fluidization South Africa</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>KwaZulu-Natal branch event. 9 May 2012</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Mechanisms of large seismic events in platinum mines of the Bushveld Complex (South Africa)</b>]]> Seismic events and pillar failures observed in two platinum mines in the Rustenburg area, South Africa, were investigated. We studied the sources of approximately 300 largest seismic events recorded in 2009. Moment tensors of these events were estimated from amplitudes and polarities of P- and S-waves. The inverted mechanisms contain isotropic implosive components in many instances. Analyses of uncertainty of the moment tensor solutions confirmed the significance of the implosive component in general. Several documented cases of pillar failure were considered in detail. For each of these a seismic moment tensor was calculated from an elastic stress model assuming an instant removal of a failed pillar. The geometries and magnitudes of the theoretical seismic moment tensors are in agreement with the observed (i.e. inverted from seismic data). The results indicate that either pillar failure or fracturing in the proximity of the reef (within a fraction of the dominant wavelength of seismic waves) are responsible for a significant portion of the large events recorded in these mines. <![CDATA[<b>Development and demonstration of oxy-fuel CFB technology</b>]]> Reduction of CO2 emissions is the key driving force behind the development and implementation of new solutions for energy production. One solution is circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion technology combined with a high-efficiency once-through water-steam cycle. Foster Wheeler's CFB technology is today commercially available in capacities up to 800 MWe with ultra-supercritical steam parameters. Simultaneously, the Flexi-Burn® CFB technology is being developed to provide capability of flexible operation in air firing and oxy-combustion for carbon capture. CFB technology can offer an attractive solution for the reduction of CO2 emissions, owing to advantages such as fuel flexibility and low emissions that the air-fired CFB technology offers today. Pilot test facilities provide information about the performance of CFB oxy-combustion technology, and the acquired knowledge is being incorporated in boiler modelling and design tools. One of the European R&D initiatives on carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the Technological Centre for CO2 Capture and Transport, which is supported by the Spanish Government through the Fundación Ciudad de la Energía (CIUDEN). CIUDEN is a research and development institution created by the Spanish administration in 2006 and fully conceived for collaborative research in CO2 capture, transportation, and storage. The Technology Development Centre for CO2 Capture and Transport comprises two technologies on oxy-combustion: pulverized coal (PC) and circulating fluidized bed (CFB). This paper will focus on the design and main characteristics of the 30 megawatt-hour thermal capacity (MWth) oxy-CFB boiler. Foster Wheeler is the technology provider of the Flexi-Burn CFB unit, for which commissioning has been completed in the first quarter of 2011. The CFB unit design allows operation either under conventional combustion with air or under oxy-fuel conditions. The size of this experimental boiler is sufficient to allow the scaling of the results to commercial units. In this way, multiple fuels and operating conditions can be tested economically. The results will validate the design of a future 330 MWe supercritical Oxy-Combustion Power Station (OXY-CFB-300 Compostilla Project) intended to demonstrate the CCS technology at commercial scale. The Compostilla OXY-CFB-300 Project is one of the six CCS demonstration projects funded under the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) of the EU. The project is based on a future 330 MWe CFB supercritical oxy-combustion plant, with CO2 storage in a deep geological formation. The first phase of the project, granted by the EEPR programme and led by the Spanish utility ENDESA, includes all studies and characterization work needed on CO2 capture, transport, and storage, as well the costs, financing, and regulatory and permitting required, prior to the final investment decision for the construction phase of the plant by the end of 2012. <![CDATA[<b>Achievable combustion efficiency with Alstom CFB boilers for burning discarded coal</b>]]> The key driver for choosing a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler is the ability to burn a wide range of fuels with highly efficient combustion while meeting low emission requirements. Reduced sorbent and water consumption compared with pulverized coal (PC) plants and the ability to deal with corrosive fuel constituents while still meeting local regulations make a CFB boiler-based power plant particularly attractive. CFB-based power generation is particularly relevant in coal mining areas. During mining, a portion of the roof and floor material may be extracted along with the coal seam in order to create adequate working height for the equipment and miners. Therefore, run-of-mine coal which comes directly from the mine contains impurities. The raw coal can undergo a washing or screening process in order to improve its quality by reducing the ash content in the fuel in order to sell it on the export market or to comply with domestic customer requirements. The coal discarded from the washing process usually has a high ash content and difficult mechanical properties resulting from the initial properties, the mining, and the coal cleaning processes. It can contain a large volume of stones or can be very fine as a result of the washing treatment. To create value from burning this discarded coal, the boiler supplier has to meet several technical challenges in developing the appropriate design. This paper highlights the performance achieved with Alstom's CFB boilers developed for power generation over the last two decades to extract value from discarded coals. Emile Huchet Power Plant is the first 125 MWe CFB unit developed for burning coal slurries (called schlamms in France). The Emile Huchet discarded coal fuel is a very fine high-ash residue with an average particle diameter by mass (d50) of around 80 μm as received from the washing plant. The paper describes the performances and the basic design of the CFB boiler to manage such a fine fuel. The performances of two other CFBs of approximately 300 MWe output in operation in the USA and PR China are also mentioned to demonstrate the capability of this technology to burn either low-volatile bituminous or anthracite waste coals. The significant issues experienced during commissioning are reported, and the conceptual choices for burning such fuels are mentioned. <![CDATA[<b>Technology comparison of CFB versus pulverized fuel firing for utility power generation</b>]]> Recent developments in circulating fluidized bed (CFB) once-through supercritical technology (OTSC) have enabled this technology to be offered as a utility-scale alternative competing head-to-head with pulverized fuel (PF) OTSC offerings. One clear example is the CFB supercritical unit at the Łagisza Power Plant in Poland, owned by PoludniowyKoncernEnergetyczny SA (PKE). This unit has now been in commercial operation for three full years, exhibiting very good performance, and has validated Foster Wheeler's performance model at this utility scale as well as for units in the 600 MWe and 800 MWe size ranges offering net efficiency of ~43 per cent (LHV basis). This operating unit has also proven the use of the world's first FW/BENSON-vertical-tube OTSC low mass flux technology. Since the Lagjsza original international tender specified OTSC PF technology, it is important to note that the alternative selection of CFB OTSC technology over conventional PF technology is of historic significance, not only for the validation of the CFB supercritical platform as a viable alternative to conventional PF technology, but it also positions the CFB OTSC with fuel flexibility for offering of sizes up to and including 800 MWe units. This paper explores the differences between CFB OTSC technology and standard PF OTSC in utility power generation. Selection criteria, fuel burning range in both technologies, and other selection drivers are discussed. Economic analysis of both technologies, based on existing cases, is also provided. Also discussed are the technical advantages and uses of each technology. Foster Wheeler has recently been awarded a contract for four units of CFB OTSC technology, which utilizes a 2 on 1 configuration of two 550 MWe CFB OTSC boilers on two single 1000 MWe turbines. Essentially this provides a fuel-flexible low-emissions alternative to a 2 x 1000 MWe solid fuel power block. <![CDATA[<b>Sulphating roasting of copper-cobalt concentrates</b>]]> Most copper/cobalt ores from the Central African Copperbelt contain sulphidic compounds, which are not extractable in direct leaching. Roasting provides the possibility to transfer the valuable components into leachable compounds. In an operation window defined by temperature and off-gas composition it is possible to selectively oxidize iron sulphides to haematite and copper/cobalt sulphides to sulphates. Selective sulphating of the valuable minerals is an important condition for the subsequent leaching stage. The dissolved copper and cobalt are recovered by solvent extraction and electrowinning. This technology has been part of an established process for many decades. The concentrates from recent projects on the Copperbelt have lower sulphur contents, and frequently higher copper contents, than those from older projects. The paper shows the consequences of this trend for plant operation and explains useful counter actions by means of case studies. Autothermal combustion is ensured even at very low sulphur contents. Off-gas treatment has so far been based on SO2 removal through sulphuric acid production. The generated acid is used to make up acid losses in the hydrometallurgical plant section. This well-proven process combination is still the preferred route if the feed sulphur content is high enough; however, some cases may require different off-gas cleaning concepts without compromising on clean air quality. Roasting in a fluid-bed furnace remains the core of the technology. Fluid-bed roasters are easy to operate and provide an excellent control of the calcine quality. Different feeding and heat-recovery systems are used to provide a tailor-made solution for each project. Outotec built it first sulphatizing roaster in Zambia about 30 years ago. At that time, the roasting of metal sulphides was already one of the main technologies in the company. Outotec has developed roasting solutions for copper, gold, zinc, lead, molybdenum, and pyrite ores. The continuously expanded and upgraded research facilities provide an excellent basis for developing sustainable, energy-efficient, and economic solutions for copper and cobalt production in Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Gas-phase extraction of lead and iron from their oxides in a fluidized-bed reactor</b>]]> The extraction of iron and lead from their oxides with a volatile organic ligand such as acetylacetone in the gas phase offers potential advantages of lower energy consumption, recycling of the extractant, recovery of pure metals, and a reduced environmental impact compared with conventional extraction processes. The influence of reaction temperature, ligand flow rate, and metal oxide levels on the extraction and rates of reaction of iron and lead from single metal oxide (synthetic haematite (Fe2O3) and synthetic massicot (PbO)) systems in a fluidized bed was studied. It was found that at the investigated acetylacetone flow rates, the influence of mass transfer was limited, but that the reaction suffered from reactant starvation. When the metal load increased the effect of starvation on the rate of reaction also increased. The reaction kinetics increased with an increase in temperature for both systems. At low metal oxide concentrations more that 80 per cent of the iron and lead could be extracted from their respective metal oxides after only four hours. <![CDATA[<b>Fluidization behaviour of various titania feedstocks</b>]]> In the chloride process for TiO2 pigment production, various titania feedstocks (i.e. rutile, synthetic rutile, slag, and upgraded titania slag (UGS)) are chlorinated in a fluidized bed reactor with petroleum coke at temperatures between 1000°C and 1100°C to yield gaseous metal chlorides. Although feedstock preference is largely based on TiO2 content, feedstock physical properties (i.e. density, sphericity, size distribution, and porosity) differ; these differences will affect fluidization behaviour and can inadvertently affect conversion efficiency. For example, a high carryover from the reactor reduces particle residence time and decreases conversion rates. Owing to dwindling rutile reserves in the world, most chloride producers are forced to feed blends of feedstocks to their chlorinators; and so it becomes important to understand whether blends have an effect on the hydrodynamic properties of the bed. This paper describes the physical characterization of different feeds and the determination of the elutriation constants for slag, rutile, synthetic rutile, and a blend (i.e. 50 wt% rutile, 50 wt% slag). A common feature of the tests was that particles finer than 75 μm tended more than any other size to be elutriated. The tested rutile, classified as a Geldart Group B material, had the lowest carryover, whereas the slags had the highest. Interestingly, the elutriation constant (ki) of the blend is lower than those of either of its individual components. <![CDATA[<b>Mining simulation for room and pillar coal operation</b>]]> The mechanized mining cycle using loaders and shuttle cars had its peak in terms of usage in the mining industry during 1950 through 1960. In Brazil, this system is still used at underground coal mines in southern Santa Catarina coal basin. With the aim of investigating the benefits of a new mining scheme using the room and pillar method for these local mines, a computational simulator model was developed in order to investigate the mining cycle. This paper presents the methodology used to develop the simulator and the results that the simulation shows regarding impact of the proposed new scheme on mining productivity. <![CDATA[<b>A case study application of linear programming and simulation to mine planning</b>]]> This paper analyses the impact of the uncertainty associated with the input parameters in a mine planning optimization model. A real example was considered to aid in the building of a mathematical model that represents the coal production process with reference to the mining, processing, and marketing of coal. This model was optimized using the linear programming concept whereby the best solution was perturbed by the stochastic behaviuor of one of the main parameters involved in the production process. The analysis of the results obtained permitted an evaluation of the risk associated with the best solution due to the uncertainty in the input parameters. <![CDATA[<b>Hydraulic fracturing technology for improving permeability in gas-bearing coal seams in underground coal mines</b>]]> Hydraulic fracturing technology is presented as a solution to improve permeability and thus solve the extraction problem of coal seam gas in low-permeability gas-bearing coal seams. Given an existing group of original cracks, the propagation of main hydraulic cracks and hydraulic wing cracks was simulated using realistic failure process analysis software. The process represents the structural transformation of hydraulic fracturing and permeability improvements caused by it. In addition, a field test for improving the permeability of gassy coal seams by hydraulic fracturing was also conducted. The propagation of the main cracks and wing cracks by hydraulic fracturing forms a network of original joint cracks, hydraulic wing cracks, and main hydraulic cracks, which improve the permeability of the coal seam. High-pressure water in the drill hole and in the main hydraulic cracks permeates the two flanks of the hole, forming the permeating water pressure. With an increase in drill water pressure and an extension of the main hydraulic cracks, the permeating water pressure on both sides of the main hydraulic cracks in the coal mass also increases. Hydraulic cracks tend to form connections through rock bridges. The extension of hydraulic wing cracks through connections in the rock bridges between the cracks transforms the rock mass to a fractured structure and improves its permeability. Hydraulic fracturing technology for improving permeability in underground conditions can increase the amount of gas drainage by a factor of 15. A stress relief area develops at a radial distance of 10-20 m from the hydraulic fracturing drill hole, while an area of rising stresses, called the pressurized area, develops a further 15 m away from the pressurized hole. Practice has proved the existence of the stress transfer phenomenon and the high stress area after fracturing. This kind of hydraulic fracturing technology is more effective in holes drilled from underground than in surface drill holes, with respect to costs and controllability, and is therefore the major trend in gas drainage development in coal mines.