Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 115 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Journal Comment</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>President's Corner</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Effect of inorganic chloride on spontaneous combustion of coal</b>]]> Chlorine-containing minerals are commonly present in coal. Associated minerals such as pyrite can undergo exothermic reactions. Consequently, it is of great significance to study the effect of inorganic chloride on the spontaneous combustion of coal. In this study, the effects of five inorganic chlorides (sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and zinc chloride) on the spontaneous oxidation of coal were investigated. Analysis of the gaseous products of coal oxidization at low temperatures (323K to 453K) showed that the presence of inorganic chlorine in coal markedly decreases O2 consumption and the generation of CO and CO2. Samples of raw coal and chlorine-loaded coal were oxidized for 36 hours under the same experimental conditions. Infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy results showed that inorganic chloride can inhibit the oxidative decomposition of some functional structure components (methyl, methylene, methine, and hydroxy) in the coal. The influence of inorganic chloride on the oxidation characteristics of the functional groups in coal during spontaneous combustion was investigated using benzyl alcohol and 1-phenyl propanol as model compounds, which were tested under the same experimental conditions as the coal samples. The oxygen consumption of model compounds with and without the addition of inorganic chloride further suggested that inorganic chloride may hinder the oxygenolysis of these structures during low-temperature oxidation. This phenomenon can be attributed to the radical reaction from the perspective of radical chemistry. It can therefore be concluded that inorganic chlorides play an inhibitory role in the spontaneous combustion of coal. <![CDATA[<b>A validation study of the King stratification model</b>]]> This paper presents a study on the ability of the King stratification model to describe density stratification patterns that are achieved under idealized conditions. Tests were conducted in a batch jig using artificial particles in seven density classes. All particles in a density class had essentially the same density, size, and shape. Tests were conducted for particle systems involving from two to seven components. Good agreement was obtained between measured and modelled data to an extent that gave strong endorsement of the mathematical appropriateness of the core equation in the King model. Somewhat ambiguous results were found with regard to claims about the independencies of the single experimentally-determined parameter required by the model. <![CDATA[<b>The behaviour of free gold particles in a simulated flash flotation environment</b>]]> A reliable laboratory method to characterize the response of free gold particles to flash flotation conditions has been developed. The test has been performed on free milling gold ores as well as synthetic ores, using either a gravity concentrate or gold powder as the gold source, to assess the floatability of gold particles. Trends in free gold flotation kinetics, as well as size and milling effects, were identified for gold recovery based on the different feed types, reagent dosages, and residence times. It was shown that the ultimate recoveries and kinetic trends of gold particles from the gravity concentrate could be enhanced with increased dosage of collector, potassium amyl xanthate. Interestingly, in comparison to gravity-recoverable gold, recovery from pure Au powders was better in collectorless flotation, and cumulative recovery decreased with higher levels of collector addition. Improved coarse particle recovery appeared linked to increased collector additions for both the gravity concentrate and the pure gold powders. In general, coarse gold particles demonstrated slower kinetic rates thaen the fine or intermediate components in comparable tests. <![CDATA[<b>The role of gravity flow in the design and planning of large sublevel stopes</b>]]> Sublevel stoping (SLS) is one of the oldest and most used methods for underground mining. It relies heavily on the use of drilling and blasting techniques to remove the rock, and gravity to transport the broken rock to drawpoints located at the base of the stope, with LHDs to transport material from the drawpoints. Current SLS operations are based on the assumption of stable geometry of the stope. Thus, the stope design includes the definition of the geometry according to the orebody shape and geomechanical constraints to avoid instability, which may cause excessive dilution. Under some circumstances, dilution could enter the stope due to geotechnical instability, especially when large stope geometries are used. A review of current design and planning practices for large SLS operations indicates that no consideration is given to the material flow and the mixing that occurs after blasting. Material flow could have a large impact on the mixing of ore when grades are heterogeneous in the stope. In this paper, we discuss the influence of gravity flow on the design and planning of large sublevel stopes with and without vertical dilution, based on laboratory experiments. The outcomes of this investigation are used to develop guidelines towards the design and planning of large SLS mines, which would complement the currently used geotechnical considerations. <![CDATA[<b>Continuous improvement management for mining companies</b>]]> Enterprises are faced with increasing economic competition and managers are obliged to look for methods that will ensure a competitive edge in their companies' markets. These methods include managerial concepts that employ common sense and are low cost. One of these approaches is the KAIZEN methodology, of Japanese origin; kaizen means continuous improvement (CI) when translated. A mining company, despite some of its idiosyncrasies, is just an enterprise where the application of KAIZEN can be advantageous. The company investigated, OKD, is the only domestic producer of hard coal in the Czech Republic and operates four mines that produce 11 Mt of coal annually. The OKD management team opted for KAIZEN as their principal method of continuous quality improvement. This paper suggests ideas for development and application of processes that provide for continuing improvement of production and management. The authors have taken the OKD Company to be their benchmark in the field of mining activities. The paper also focuses on possible difficulties accompanying the introduction of CI sustainable methods. Three years of application of CI methods has increased the income of the company by almost US$38.1 million, which provides a strong argument for continued application. <![CDATA[<b>A decision analysis guideline for underground bulk air heat exchanger design specifications</b>]]> This paper discusses a study that investigated different underground bulk air heat exchanger (>100 m³/s) design criteria. A literature review found that no single document exists covering all design criteria for different heat exchangers, and therefore the need was identified to generate a guideline with decision analyser steps to arrive at a technical specification. The study investigated the factors influencing heat exchanger designs (spray chambers, towers, and indirect-contact heat exchangers) and the technical requirements for each. The decision analysers can be used to generate optimized, user-friendly fit-for-purpose designs for bulk air heat exchangers (air cooler and heat rejection). The study was tested against a constructed air cooler and heat rejection unit at a copper mine¹. It was concluded that the decision analysers were used successfully. This tool (decision analysers) can be used by engineers for the efficient and cost-effectively design of heat exchangers. <![CDATA[<b>'Salem Box Test' to predict the suitability of metallurgical coke for blast furnace ironmaking</b>]]> Blast furnace performance depends strongly on the coke reactivity index (CRI) and coke strength after reaction (CSR) properties. An innovative and cost-effective method, known as the Salem Box Test, has been developed to prevent the mass production of inferior coke unsuitable for blast furnace use. This method consists of coal carbonization on a micro-scale and involves charging approximately 18 kg of coal blend in a stainless steel box, carbonizing it together with coal cake in the plant coke ovens, and testing the coke produced for CRI and CSR to determine its suitability for blast furnace use. Only coal blends that yield coke with CRI <25% and CSR &gt;64% are permitted for mass production, and other coal blends are either rejected or the blending ratios adjusted in an attempt to upgrade them. The experimental results reveal that, for a given coal blend, the quality of coke produced by the Salem Box Test is comparable with that produced by bulk production, indicating that the test is acceptable as a screening tool for regular use. The present paper describes the methodology and application of Salem Box Test to predict the suitability of coke for blast furnace use at JSW Steel Limited, Salem Works (JSWSL), and illustrates its advantages in adjusting the coal blending ratio to produce superior coke, in detecting coal contamination, and in preventing bulk production of inferior coke. <![CDATA[<b>The grate-kiln induration machine - history, advantages, and drawbacks, and outline for the future</b>]]> Iron ore pellets are a preferred feedstock for ironmaking. One method used for pelletizing is the grate-kiln process, first established in 1960. During the past decade, the establishment of new grate-kiln plants has increased rapidly, especially in China, and new constructors of pellet plants have started to operate in the market. It is well known that the grate-kiln method yields a superior and more consistent pellet quality compared with the straight-grate process. However, certain issues exist with the grate-kiln plant, which are discussed here, together with proposed practical solutions. <![CDATA[<b>Estimating mine planning software utilization for decision-making strategies in the South African gold mining sector</b>]]> This paper discusses a new methodology for defining and measuring mine planning software utilization in the South African gold mining sector within an evolving data-set framework. An initial data-set showing the mine planning software providers, their corresponding software solutions, as well as the software capabilities and information on the number of licences was collected and compiled in 2012 in an online database for software utilized in the South African mining industry. Details of the database development and implementation were published in the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 2013. In 2014 the data-set was updated with additional and new information. Using the 2012 and 2014 timestamps, a methodology for estimating the software utilization was developed. In this methodology, the three variables of commodity, functionality, and time factor were used to define and measure the software utilization in order to ultimately inform decision-making strategies for optimal software utilization. Using six different functionalities, namely Geological Data Management, Geological Modelling and Resource Estimation, Design and Layout, Scheduling, Financial Valuation, and Optimization, utilization in the gold sector was measured. This paper presents the methodology employed for measuring the mine planning software utilization. The methodology is useful for stakeholders reviewing existing software combinations or intending to purchase new software in the near future and who want to estimate the comparative attractiveness of a certain software package. These stakeholders include mining companies, consulting companies, educational institutions, and software providers. The work presented in this paper is part of a PhD research study in the School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. <![CDATA[<b>Thermophysical properties of rocks from the Bushveld Complex</b>]]> This paper presents a compilation of physical properties of rocks from the Bushveld Complex. The database consists of more than 900 measurements each of thermal conductivity and density. The data are well distributed from localities around the Complex and most rock types are well represented. Thermal conductivity and density are shown to vary widely in the ranges 1.8-4.2 W m-1K-1and 2600-4200 kg m-3 respectively. Although only 190 heat capacity measurements are available, this parameter is quite uniform for most rock types present, 800-900 J kg-1K-1, except for chromitite, which has a lower average, 750 J kg-1 K-1. Rocks encountered in deep platinum mines are particularly well characterized and this has important implications for prediction of mine refrigeration requirements. The heat flux into a semi-infinite region with properties typical of the Bushveld Complex as a function of time is substantially lower than an equivalent model for the Witwatersrand Basin. <![CDATA[<b>A new preparation scheme for a difficult-to-float coking coal by column flotation following grinding</b>]]> A new preparation scheme for a difficult-to-float coking coal from the Kailuan Mine, Tangshan, China was investigated. The results showed that grinding followed by column flotation was beneficial for obtaining products with low ash content. The positive effect of grinding on the coal floatability is attributed to the liberation of intergrowths and coal surface improvement. Tests indicated that 10 minutes was the optimum grinding time, and overgrinding resulted in a deterioration in flotation performance. With a grinding time of 10 minutes, conventional flotation had potential to yield a product with around 12.42% ash content and 69.15% combustible recovery. Column flotation can reduce the product ash content to 11.15% and increase combustible recovery to 74.47%. Consistently better flotation results reveal that column flotation is more efficient than conventional flotation for such fines. <![CDATA[<b>Technological developments for spatial prediction of soil properties, and Danie Krige's influence on it</b>]]> Daniel Krige's influence on soil science, and on soil survey in particular, has been profound. From the 1920s onwards soil surveyors made their maps by classifying the soils and drawing boundaries between the classes they recognized. By the 1960s many influential pedologists were convinced that if one knew to which class of soil a site belonged then one would be able to predict the soil's properties there. At the same time, engineers began to realize that prediction from such maps was essentially a statistical matter and to apply classical sampling theory. Such methods, though sound, proved inefficient because they failed to take account of the spatial dependence within the classes. Matters changed dramatically in the 1970s when soil scientists learned of the work of Daniel Krige and Georges Matheron's theory of regionalized variables. Statistical pedologists (pedometricians) first linked R.A. Fisher's analysis of variance to regionalized variables via spatial hierarchical designs to estimate spatial components of variance. They then applied the mainstream geostatistical methods of spatial analysis and kriging to map plant nutrients, trace elements, pollutants, salt, and agricultural pests in soil, which has led to advances in modern precision agriculture. They were among the first Earth scientists to use nonlinear statistical estimation for modelling variograms and to make the programmed algorithms publicly available. More recently, pedometricians have turned to likelihood methods, specifically residual maximum likelihood (REML), to combine fixed effects, such as trend and external variables, with spatially correlated variables in linear mixed models for spatial prediction. They have also explored nonstationary variances with wavelets and by spectral tempering, although it is not clear how the results should be used for prediction. This paper illustrates the most significant advances, with results from research projects.