Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
TSHIKHUDO, S and SHIKWAMBANA, V. The application of Baleen Filter microscreening technology at BECSA's South Export Plant. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.7, pp.519-524. ISSN 2411-9717.
This paper outlines an investigation into the recovery of saleable fractions of coal from 'as-arising' South Export Plant effluent streams, using Baleen microscreening technology. South Export Plant, a subdivision of BHP Billiton Energy Coal SA (BECSA) Coal Processing, is a two-module plant treating 2000 t/h. The nominally -150 µΐη coal is untreated and is therefore passed from classifying cyclones to the thickeners for process water recovery. The thickened underflow is pumped into a series of slurry cells for further settling and recovery of supernatant water. The marginal quality, moisture content, and handlebility of this settled material renders it unsuitable for inclusion into saleable products and it is thus stockpiled and trucked to designated pits for disposal. Over the years, stockpiling and trucking has become an overly expensive exercise. In an effort to recover some of this cost, a task team was assigned to investigate less costly options to process slurry across BECSA plants. Various technologies such as froth flotation, sieve bends, and Reflux Classifier were considered, although the results were generally not beneficial - this could be attributed to weathered/oxidized coal. A decision was made to pursue an alternative approach by testing the suitability of the new 'Baleen Filter'. The concept is to screen out the higher-grade fraction (+50 µm) as saleable product and reject the finer fractions to the slurry ponds. The Baleen Filter was found to effectively screen at an acceptable efficiency between 94% and 99.99%, with a very sharp cut-point (d50 and Ep). The actual yields from the screening results were better than the predicted yields in terms of both mass and energy as predicted from feedstock analysis.
Keywords : Fine coal; coal slurry; upgrading; screening; Baleen Filter; thickener feed.