Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0038-223X20150007&lang=pt vol. 115 num. 7 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Heaping coals of fire upon our heads</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>President's Corner</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Spontaneous combustion risk in South African coalfields</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The risk of spontaneous combustion is well known in the South African coal mining industry. In the coming years it is very possible that the incidence of spontaneous combustion will increase from current levels, due to factors such as an increased rate of mining, re-working of previously mined seams, more stooping and total extraction for underground mines, and higher stripping ratios for surface mines, leading to more spoils. It is also fairly certain that coal mining will face tougher environmental emissions legislation in the near future. To determine the areas where the risks of spontaneous combustion are high, it is necessary to improve on our current laboratory procedures for testing and evaluating coal samples, combining the results with site and field data, and if necessary revising the laboratory rating system to refine our understanding of South African conditions. Currently, laboratory tests are conducted in order to determine both the Wits-EHAC index and the crossing-point temperature which, when combined, give an indication of the spontaneous combustion propensities of the coal samples. This procedure has enabled the establishment of a database of results to review and evaluate South African coal seams. Using this database, the high-risk areas in terms of spontaneous combustion are identified. Tests have been undertaken for five consecutive years, between 2008 and 2012. In total, 119 coal samples from different coal seams and production coalfields have been analysed and classified through a series of laboratory tests. A comprehensive database of these results is available, and is continually being updated as new test results are added. This database will continue to expand, and to provide the basis for an improved risk evaluation methodology for spontaneous combustion. <![CDATA[<b>Processing low-grade coal to produce high-grade products</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt South Africa's best-quality coal, located in the central Highveld basin, is becoming depleted and alternative sources of coal, such as the Waterberg coalfield, will have to be developed to supply the country with coal in the future. The quality of the coal being mined in the central basin is gradually becoming poorer. This necessitates that more of the coal be processed to improve the quality to meet customer requirements. The challenge to the coal processing industry is to process low-yielding coals to produce good-quality products and at the same time ensure that coal mining remains economically viable. This requires that more cost-effective coal processing technologies be investigated and implemented. <![CDATA[<b>Feasibility study of electricity generation from discard coal</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt There is large electricity generation potential in discard coal, both in stockpiles and current arisings. Power stations with a combined capacity of up to 18 GW electrical (GWe) could be fuelled by discard coal. Modern circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) boilers, with capital costs comparable to equivalent pulverized fuel (PF) boilers, are capable of utilizing discard coal at a high efficiency while reducing sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions though the use of limestone sorbent for 'in-situ' capture. A detailed economic assessment of the feasibility of electricity generation from discard coal, comprising material and energy balances and the construction of a discounted cash flow (DCF) table, shows that it is also potentially attractive from an economic perspective. A base case analysis shows positive net present values (NPVs) and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 21.4%. Sensitivity analyses on critical parameters show that the economic viability is heavily dependent on parameters such as coal cost and the value of electricity. The project becomes unattractive above a coal price of approximately R300 per ton and at an electricity value below approximately 59c per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Site- and project-specific information such as the delivered cost of coal, location and efficacy of sorbents, and effective value of the electricity produced can be used as input to the economic analysis to evaluate siting options and sorbent source options for such a power station. <![CDATA[<b>The value proposition of circulating fluidized-bed technology for the utility power sector</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt There is large electricity generation potential in discard coal, both in stockpiles and current arisings. Power stations with a combined capacity of up to 18 GW electrical (GWe) could be fuelled by discard coal. Modern circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) boilers, with capital costs comparable to equivalent pulverized fuel (PF) boilers, are capable of utilizing discard coal at a high efficiency while reducing sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions though the use of limestone sorbent for 'in-situ' capture. A detailed economic assessment of the feasibility of electricity generation from discard coal, comprising material and energy balances and the construction of a discounted cash flow (DCF) table, shows that it is also potentially attractive from an economic perspective. A base case analysis shows positive net present values (NPVs) and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 21.4%. Sensitivity analyses on critical parameters show that the economic viability is heavily dependent on parameters such as coal cost and the value of electricity. The project becomes unattractive above a coal price of approximately R300 per ton and at an electricity value below approximately 59c per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Site- and project-specific information such as the delivered cost of coal, location and efficacy of sorbents, and effective value of the electricity produced can be used as input to the economic analysis to evaluate siting options and sorbent source options for such a power station. <![CDATA[<b>Gasification of low-rank coal in the High-Temperature Winkler (HTW) process</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Gasification is a process of thermal conversion of solid carbonaceous materials into a gaseous fuel called syngas. Coal gasification is an efficient technology for a range of systems for producing low-emission electricity and other high-value products such as chemicals, synthetic fuels, etc. The paper presents the High-Temperature Winkler (HTW) gasification process, which is designed to utilize low-rank feedstock such as coals with high ash content, lignite, biomass etc. The process is characterized by a bubbling fluidized bed, where coal devolatilization and partial oxidation and gasification of coal char and volatiles take place, and by a freeboard where partial combustion and gasification of coal char take place. The recent development of the high-pressure HTW process is reviewed. Gasification of low-rank, high-ash coals with respect to gasification temperatures, conversion rates, and syngas quality is also discussed. The main HTW design steps required for an industrial-scale design are presented. Special attention is given to the process modelling, including global thermodynamic calculation as well as detailed CFD-based simulation of a reacting fluidized bed. Three-dimensional numerical results of the HTW process are also provided and discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Support stability mechanism in a coal face with large angles in both strike and dip</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt To solve the support stability control problem for a coal face with large angles along both strike and dip (CLSD), the 'support-surrounding rock' mechanical model has been developed, which takes into account the impact of the dip angle of the seam on the stability of the support in the strike direction. The mechanical relationships of the critical topple angle and critical slip angle of the support along the strike of the coal face with large dip angle and the support height, support resistance, friction coefficient, and other factors have been derived through the mechanical analysis of support stability in the strike direction of CLSDs in the free state, the operating state, and the special state. The research findings were applied to a fully mechanized CLSD in Xinji Coal Mine. The maximum underhand angle and overhand angle in strike are 42° and 25° respectively, and the maximum dip is 39°. It is calculated that during underhand mining and overhand mining, the critical support resistances for avoiding support toppling are 3723 kN and 1714 kN respectively, and the critical support resistances for avoiding slipping of the support are 7405 kN and 6606 kN respectively. Thus, the selection of type ZZ7600/18/38 hydraulic roof support for the coal face is justified. Measures to prevent sliding of the support and the installation of a limiting stop maintain the support runs in good condition and ensure safe and efficient mining of CLSD. <![CDATA[<b>An economic risk evaluation approach for pit slope optimization</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In open pit mine design, it is customary for geotechnical engineers to define the appropriate slope design angles within practical limits. The conventional approach to slope angle design is based on the comparison of calculated stability indicators, such as the factor of safety (FS) and the probability of failure (PF), with generic acceptability criteria not directly related to the impacts of failure. A major drawback of this type of approach is related to the difficulty of defining meaningful acceptability criteria. An alternative methodology of pit slope design is proposed, where the economic impacts of potential slope failures are calculated and used as the elements on which to apply the acceptability criteria for design. The methodology is based on the construction of a graph, referred to as a risk map, that relates the probability of exceeding the economic impact of slope failure to the magnitude of the impact measured in monetary terms. The process includes the analysis of a selected number of representative years of the mine plan and slope sections of the pit areas to define the required inputs for the construction of the risk map. The paper discusses the concepts used in interpreting the probability of slope failure, and describes the approach followed for the estimation of the economic impacts of slope failure and the construction of the risk map. Finally, the two main uses of the risk map are discussed, including the comparison with acceptability criteria for the evaluation of a specific open pit design and the comparative analysis of open pit design options in terms of value and risk to identify optimum pit layouts. <![CDATA[<b>Investigation of stress in an earthmover bucket using finite element analysis: A generic model for draglines</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Draglines are massive machines extensively utilized in opencast mines for overburden stripping. The demanding working environment induces fractures, wear and tear, and fatigue failures in dragline components and eventuates in extended maintenance, lengthy downtimes, and loss of production. The bucket is the main source of external loads on the machinery, since interactions with ground materials take place in this region. This study aims to develop a generic finite element model of the stress on an operating bucket. This entails (i) three-dimensional modelling of a dragline bucket, (ii) analytical estimation of resistive forces in the bucket movement, (iii) three-dimensional simulation of the moving bucket using finite element analysis (FEA), and (iv) sensitivity analysis to examine the effect of formation characteristics on stress variation. Simulation results imply that the drag hitch and digging teeth are the elements of the bucket that are most prone to failure. In addition, sensitivity analysis indicates that internal friction angle of the formation is the dominant parameter leading fluctuations in stress values. Changes in stress level are least influenced by formation density. <![CDATA[<b>Radio frequency propagation model and fading of wireless signal at 2.4 GHz in an underground coal mine</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Wireless sensor networks and wireless communication systems have become indispensable in underground mines. Wireless sensor networks are being used for better real-time data acquisition from ground monitoring devices, gas sensors, and mining equipment, whereas wireless communication systems are needed for locating and communicating with workers. Conventional methods like wireline communication have proved to be ineffective in the event of mine hazards such as roof falls, fires etc. Before implementation of any wireless system, the variable path loss indices for different workplaces should be determined. This helps in better signal reception and sensor node localization, and also improves the method by which miners carrying the wireless devices are tracked. This paper proposes a novel method for determining the parameters of a suitable radio propagation model, which is illustrated with the results of a practical experiment carried out in an underground coal mine in southern India. The path loss indices, along with other essential parameters for accurate localization, have been determined using the XBee modules and ZigBee protocol at 2.4 GHz frequency. <![CDATA[<b>Peak particle velocity prediction using support vector machines: A surface blasting case study</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Although blasting is one of the most widely used methods for rock fragmentation, it has a major disadvantage in that it causes adjacent ground vibrations. Excessive ground vibrations can cause a wide range of problems, from nearby residents complaining to ecological damage. Prediction of blast-induced ground vibration is essential for evaluating and controlling the many adverse consequences of surface blasting. Since there are several effective variables with highly nonlinear interactions, no comprehensive model of blast-induced vibrations is available. In this study, the support vector machine (SMV) algorithm was employed for prediction of the peak particle velocity (PPV) induced by blasting at a surface mine. Twelve input variables in three categories of rock mass, blast pattern, and explosives were used for prediction of the PPV at different distances from the blast face. The results of 100 experiments were used for model-building, and 20 for testing. A high coefficient of determination with low mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) was achieved, which demonstrates the suitability of the algorithm in this case. The very high accuracy of prediction and fast computation are the two major advantages of the method. Although the case study was for a large surface mining operation, the methodology is applicable to all other surface blasting projects that involve a similar procedure. <![CDATA[<b>Large-scale deformation in underground hard-rock mines</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In some underground hard-rock mines, squeezing compressive ground conditions are influenced by the presence of rock foliation and high stress. In these cases, the orientation of the foliation with respect to the drift direction has a considerable impact on the magnitude of the resulting deformation. Irrespective of the reinforcement and support strategy, keeping drives developed sub-parallel to the rock foliation operational is difficult, and often requires excessive rehabilitation during the lifetime of the excavation. This study uses field observations and convergence measurements at the LaRonde and Lapa mines of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd to provide guidelines of the anticipated squeezing levels at these operations. <![CDATA[<b>Visions for challenging assets in the South African coal sector</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-223X2015000700014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In some underground hard-rock mines, squeezing compressive ground conditions are influenced by the presence of rock foliation and high stress. In these cases, the orientation of the foliation with respect to the drift direction has a considerable impact on the magnitude of the resulting deformation. Irrespective of the reinforcement and support strategy, keeping drives developed sub-parallel to the rock foliation operational is difficult, and often requires excessive rehabilitation during the lifetime of the excavation. This study uses field observations and convergence measurements at the LaRonde and Lapa mines of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd to provide guidelines of the anticipated squeezing levels at these operations.