Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
LE ROUX, M; CAMPBELL, Q.P and SMIT, W. Large-scale design and testing of an improved fine coal dewatering system. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.7, pp. 673-676. ISSN 2411-9717.
Fine coal (-500 |m) is notoriously difficult to dewater. It is not uncommon for a dewatered product to have a moisture content as high as 30 per cent after vacuum filtration. This poses several handling and financial problems to such an extent that a lot of fine coal is discarded onto slurry waste ponds. A novel way of dewatering fine coal was developed at North-West University. It entails deliberately damaging the filter cake during dewatering to allow for an increased flow of air through the cake at the expense of the applied pressure differential. This method resulted in an average improvement in final cake moisture of between 3 per cent and 5 per cent when executed in the laboratory under controlled conditions. A device was designed that could be fitted onto existing belt filters that would damage the filter cake as it passes by. This device was tested on a vacuum belt filter installation at a coal beneficiation operation in the Waterberg coal field in South Africa. The results showed a 3 per cent reduction in final moisture of the cake, proving the validity of the method at full industrial scale.
Keywords : fine coal; dewatering; filtration.