Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
The three-product cyclone was originally developed in Russia and is now extensively used in China. The cyclone has recently entered the South African coal industry, and with the obvious advantages that this item of process equipment offers our ever-evolving industry it is safe to assume that it will add value to dense medium circuits in South Africa. Some of the possible applications include: > Producing multiple products using a single dense medium circuit. These can typically be a primary product with calorific value of 27.50 MJ/kg and a secondary (middling) product with a calorific value of 22 MJ/kg > High-density separation with a low circulating medium density. Anglo Thermal Coal and Exxaro have pioneered the use of these units at Umlalazi and New Clydesdale respectively. Extensive test work has been performed at Umlalazi to determine the efficiency of the unit and to determine how it compares with the conventional DSM (Dutch School of Mines) cyclone. Some people in the coal industry were initially sceptical and expected the performance of the three-product cyclone to be inferior to that of the conventional dense medium cyclone. The results of the test work have, however, shown that the efficiency of the unit is comparable to that of the cyclones currently employed. A valid concern expressed is the control over the cut-point density of the second stage separation, and work is on-going to find the optimal way to control the secondary separation density. Theoretically, the secondary separation density can be manipulated by changing the orifices of the unit, especially the spigot of the secondary stage. This remains to be proven, and a series of tests is currently being planned. Whatever the result of these tests may be, the three-product cyclone definitely has a place in the South African coal processing industry as it offers a low OPEX and CAPEX solution for producing multiple products from a single circuit, as well as the ability to operate at very high separation densities, while making use of low-density circulating medium.
Keywords : dense medium separation; DSM, three-product cyclone; coal processing.