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Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan


Coal was one of man's earliest sources of heat and light. It has been said that the
Chinese knew the use of coal to a slight extent before the Greeks did; The Chinese were
known to have dug it more than 3,000 years ago.

Coal is a non-renewable fossil fuel formed in ecosystems where plant remains were
preserved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation, thus sequestering
atmospheric carbon. Coal is a readily combustible black or brownish-black rock. It is a
sedimentary rock, but the harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as
metamorphic rocks because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure.
Coal is often referred to as "buried sunshine," because the plants which formed coal
captured energy from the sun through photosynthesis to create the compounds that
make up plant tissues. The most important element in the plant material is carbon,
which gives coal most of its energy.

Coal Mining: Underground scene showing full baskets (corves) of coal being loaded on a
tram wagon using a crane. (London 1760)
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 2 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan
Coal is a combustible organic (Sedimentary) rock composed primarily of carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen. Coal is a physically and chemically complex substance that has
been defined in different ways over the years. Currently, the most widely accepted
definition is that adopted by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) which
is as follows:
Coal is a readily combustible rock containing more than 50 percent by weight and more
than 70 percent by volume of carbonaceous material including inherent moisture, and
formed by the accumulation and burial of plant material along old river banks, deltas,
lagoons, marshes, etc. Differences in the kinds of plant materials (type), in degree of
metamorphism (rank), and in the range of impurity (grade) are characteristic of Coal and
are used in Coal classification.

Increasing metamorphism results an increase in Coal rank. Lignite, sub-bituminous,
bituminous, and anthracite coals are produced by increased pressure and heat resulting
from the depth of burial. As the coal's rank increases so does its hardness, brittleness,
brightness, and energy potential. Coal is burned to produce energy (for Power
generation and Steel manufacturing). It is also an important source of chemicals used to
make medicine, fertilizers, pesticides, and other products.

Coal is one of major energy source which is contributing in worlds energy systems with
the share of 23.80 % and 23.75 % of production and consumption respectively. But the
utilization of coal as a fuel is a potential threat to the environment. Undesirable
products, which are generated during the combustion, contaminate atmosphere, water
and soil. In order to obtain clean fuels, the liquefaction and gasification of the worlds
mot abundant fuel i.e., coal, have gained increasing attention. The energy sector
requires efficient and clean energy supplies.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan

Long before the dinosaurs reigned, there was a time ruled by forests of giant ferns,
reeds, and mosses. The earth was a warmer, steamier place back then and plants
thrived, growing taller than our tallest trees today. Coal deposits come from many
epochs, but the best and most abundant are from the forests in the warm, swampy river
deltas of the Carboniferous period, some 320 million years ago.

COALIFICATION The Process of Coal Formation
Coal is formed when accumulated plant debris are altered physically and chemically into
a solid black fossil fuel known as Coal. The process of Coalification is divided into various
parts or steps for the ease of understanding.
In first step, the plant debris such as leaves, barks, spores etc. settled to the bottom
of the swamp and may be covered or buried with the sediment layers.
In second step, the decomposition of the buried vegetal matter begins under the
bacterial action. However, the decomposition is not complete because the stagnant
water in the swamps stops the decaying process due the lack of oxygen. This partially
decomposed material is known as peat, the beginning of coal forming process.
During third step of Coalification, peat undergoes several changes as a result of
bacterial decay, compaction (due to its own weight), heat, and time. The bacterial
decay rate is reduced because the available oxygen in organic-rich water is
completely used up by the decaying process. Anaerobic (without oxygen) decay is
much slower than aerobic decay.
The fourth step of coal formation starts when accumulated peat is buried by
sedimentation process. Over long periods of time, the makeup of the earth's surface
changed, and seas and great rivers caused deposition of sand, clay and other mineral
matter on to the peat. Sandstone and other sedimentary rocks were formed, and the
pressure caused by their weight squeezed water from the peat. Increasingly deeper
burial and the heat associated with it gradually changed the material to coal.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 2 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan
Stages of Coalification
1. Peat
2. Lignite
3. Bituminous
4. Anthracite.
Figure 01: Formation of Coal

The coal was formed from the plant debris (vegetal matter) of the plants which were
native to the place of origin of coal and/or transported from another site where they
were grown, broken off and carried away by the stream of water. Thus, two main
theories were presented regarding the accumulation of the vegetal matter.

01 The Insitu or Autochthonous theory
02 The Drift or Allochthonous theory

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 3 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan
01. The In Situ (Autochthonous) Theory
This theory Propose that the plant remains accumulated in situ, that is, where the
vegetation grew and fell, and the deposit is said to be Autochthonous in origin. Many
researchers have a strong objection on this theory as this specifies a reverse geological
cycle. But the presence of plant roots under the floor of coal seam signifies the
importance of this theory.

02. The Drift (Allochthonous) Theory
This theory explains that the deposit is Allochthonous that it has accumulated as a result
of the transportation of the vegetal matter by water. According to this theory the
fragments of plants have been carried by streams and deposited on the bottom of the
sea or in lakes, in much the same manner as any other sediment would be carried, and
allowed to settle to the bottom to build up strata which later become compressed into
solid rock. The supporters of this theory have valid reasons to sustain; the most
important one is that the coal is a sedimentary rock, its sediments brought down by
erosion and deposited to low-lying areas of large water bodies and covered with the
other inorganic sediments.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan

Coal is a complex combination of materials, and the combination can greatly differ from
one formation to another. The various suggestions to account for the development of
different varieties of coal from vegetal matter may be summed up as follows:
(1) Differences in kinds of vegetation and differences in climates in different regions.
(2) The length of time during which the vegetation has been exposed before burial by
(3) Length of time, since burial of the vegetation.
(4) The depth of burial of the vegetation.
(5) Action of heat from compression or from intrusions of igneous rocks.
(6) Possibility of escape of volatile constituents after burial beneath sediments because
of fractures or pores in the overlying rocks, and jointage in the coal seams.
7) The pressure resulting from compression of the seam during dynamic changes in the
enclosing rocks.
Following are the ranks of coal in progressive order;

Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is the lowest rank of coal and used almost
exclusively as fuel for steam-electric power generation. It is brownish-black and has a
high inherent moisture content, sometimes as high as 66%, and very high ash (50%)
content compared with bituminous coal. It is also a heterogeneous mixture of
compounds for which no single structural formula will suffice. Lignite is a geologically
young coal which has the lowest carbon content, 25-35 percent, and a heat value
ranging between 4,000 and 8,300 BTUs-per-pound.
Because of its low energy density, brown coal is inefficient to transport and is not traded
extensively on the world market compared with higher coal grades. It is often burned in
power stations constructed very close to any mines known as mine-mouth power plant.
Carbon dioxide emissions from brown coal fired plants are generally much higher than
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 2 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan
for comparable black coal fired plants. The continued operation of lignite fired power
plants, particularly in combination with strip (surface) mining and in the absence of
emissions-avoiding technology like gas scrubbers and electrostatic precipitation devices,
is politically contentious.

This term has been officially adopted by the United States Geological Survey to include
the glossy black coal which grades downward in properties from bituminous to lignite
but which, as a rule, is of a considerably higher grade than the woody or ligneous type.
Sub-bituminous coal is primarily used as fuel for steam-electric power generation. Its
carbon content ranges from 35-45 percent and heating value between 8,300 and 13,000
BTUs-per-pound. Although its heat value is lower than those of Bituminous coal, this
coal generally has a lower sulfur content than other types, which makes it attractive for
use because it is cleaner burning.

The term bituminous has evidently been handed down from the earliest writers on
mineralogy because they frequently spoke of the volatile materials given off this type of
coal on distillation, as bitumen. Bituminous coal is a relatively soft coal. It is of higher
quality than lignite coal but poorer quality than anthracite coal. Bituminous coal is an
organic sedimentary rock formed by diagenetic and sub-metamorphic compression of
peat material. Bituminous coal is usually black, sometimes dark brown, often with well-
defined bands of bright and dull material. Bituminous coal seams are stratigraphically
identified by the distinctive sequence of bright and dark bands and are classified
accordingly as either "dull, bright-banded" or "bright, dull-banded" etc.
It is extensively used in iron and steel making and also in electricity generation.
Bituminous coal has a carbon content ranging from 45 to 86 percent carbon and a heat
value of 10,500 to 15,500 BTUs-per-pound.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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Volatility is also critical for steel-making and power generation, as this determines the
burn rate of the coal. High volatile content coals, while easy to ignite often are not as
prized as moderately volatile coals; low volatile coal may be difficult to ignite although it
will contain more energy per unit volume.

In America this coal is frequently known as hard coal, and in Wales as stone coal. It
is characterized by an iron-black color, and dull to brilliant, and even sub metallic luster.
It does not soil the fingers as bituminous coal does. It burns with a short, pale blue
flame, emits little odor, and does not coke. It commonly breaks with conchoidal fracture
and thus differs from bituminous coal which usually breaks into roughly rectangular
fragments. Anthracite is nearly a pure form of carbon thus the highest ranked coal. Its
high carbon content allows anthracite to burn hot and long. When burning anthracite,
as opposed to other coals, there is a maximum amount of heat production, with
minimum ash. The heat generation is intense enough to melt stoves. Anthracite is coal
with the highest carbon content, between 86 and 99 percent, and a heating value of
nearly 16,000 BTUs-per-pound. Most frequently associated with home heating.
Anthracite coal has a no major industrial applications. Anthracite has high carbon rating
but it is not used to make steel because of the two main reasons.
i. The high density and non-coking property; so it could not readily burn,
ii. Limited reserves and tough mining conditions restrict its regular applicability.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan

There have been in use since the earliest days of the coal trade certain names which
distinguish different varieties of coal, such as anthracite, bituminous, and lignite. These
names, or their equivalents, are in general use almost throughout the world. As the
importance of the coal trade increased, however, it was realized that some more
definite means of classifying coals according to their composition and heating value was
desired because the lines of distinction between the varieties used in the past were not
sufficiently definite for practical purposes. Following are some important classifications:

It was one of the first attempts to propose a definite classification of coal on the basis of
their composition and heating value was Persifor Frazer, Jr. He based his classification
on the ratio of the fixed carbon to the volatile combustible matter.

In 1903 Collier suggested that all coals with a moisture content of 10 percent or more
should be classed as lignite, and those with less than 10 percent as bituminous, but his
classification has proved entirely unsatisfactory.

After extensive studies of coal for the purpose of obtaining a satisfactory classification
Campbell came to the following conclusions:
i. For the higher grades of coal the fuel ratio may be used as a satisfactory means of
separation but it does not properly separate the lignite and bituminous coals.
ii. The percentage of fixed carbon cannot be used as a satisfactory basis.
iii. The calorific value cannot be used since many of the bituminous coals are of higher
calorific value than the best grades of anthracite. It is, however, fairly satisfactory for
the lignite and bituminous coals.
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iv. The Percentage of hydrogen present is valueless as a basis of classification.
v. A classification according to the carbon content is satisfactory in a general way as
there is a fairly regular decrease in the carbon content from that of anthracite to that
of lignite. The separation between anthracite and good quality bituminous coal is not
marked and there are many exceptions to the rule.
vi. The Carbon-hydrogen ratio is regarded as the most satisfactory basis for

Seylers classification was outlined in 1933 and still it is widely used for the coal
classification. This classification system is based on the percentage of carbon and
hydrogen present in the coal calculated to dry and mineral-matter free basis (it refers to
that coal with consist solely of volatile matter and fixed carbon excluding moisture and
mineral impurities (ash). Volatile matter and calorific value are other criteria which are
taken into consideration for this classification.

This classification of coal published by American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM-
D388-77) is used extensively in North America and many other parts of world including
Pakistan. It is based on two fundamental properties of practical significance; the fixed
carbon (and hence the volatile matter) content and calorific value (or specific energy).

The classification was originally devised by United Nations Economic Commission for
Europe to assist international trade of coal and subsequently approved by International
Organization for Standardization (ISO). This scheme uses a series of numbers to give a
general summary of coals chemical and physical characteristics. The properties chosen
are those that reflects the usefulness of the coal in its principle market areas namely for
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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coke production and steam-raising (electricity generation) application and as a result
the classification is widely used in many assessments of coal for industrial purposes.
The classification derived by the National Coal Board of the United Kingdom uses a
three-figure numerical code to classify bituminous coals and anthracites on the basis of
their volatiles content and coking properties. The first two digits of the classification are
based on the amount of volatile matter in the coal, expressed on a dry, mineral-matter
free basis, and the Gray-king values.

The method used for classification of Australian hard coals those with a specific energy
or calorific value greater than 27.08 MJ/kg (11641.82 Btu/lb.). This classification
summarizes the coals properties by means of a Four-digit number; First digit indicate
volatile matter percentage, 2nd digit, 3rd digit and 4th digit point to Crucible Swelling
number, Gray-king value and ash number respectively.

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan

The structural features of coal deposit may vary from one deposit to another. The
processes associated with coal formation are responsible for the development of
various geological features in and around the coal seam. Greater variations may occur
laterally in a coalfield, with ranks changing gradually over several miles. The presumed
cause of such variation is regional tectonic activity, such as splitting, faulting, folding,
and volcanic intrusions. These large-scale disturbances may bring extra heat or depth to
one part of the coalfield, and cause an increase in rank in the affected area.
Many of these features were first encountered by the miner in the course of coal
extraction, and they have named them traditionally and conventionally. The mode of
their occurrence and orientation in field can be predicted by a thorough appraisal of
geological succession of the region. Following are some significant geological features of
coal seam:

A seam may be divided into several thinner seams or "splits" by partings of clay, shale,
slate, or sandstone, The splits are due to the fact that while the vegetal matter is being
laid down in the swamp or open body of water there are periods when clay or sand is
brought in by water from the surrounding lands and carried out over the vegetal matter.
The deposit of sediment grows thinner as it extends away from the dry land and some
distance from the edge of the basin the deposition of vegetal matter goes on without
interruption so that a continuous coal seam results, whereas closer to the edge the
seam is interrupted by these bands of sediment.
The number of partings will depend upon the rate of change in level between the
surrounding land and the basin, or upon the variations in climate. A sinking of the basin
where the vegetal matter is being deposited or a rise of the surrounding land will cause
sediment to be carried out by streams farther from the edge of the swamp or other
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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basin than it was formerly, while a change to a wetter climate may also cause greater
erosion of the land and consequently a more extended deposition of sediment over the
vegetal matter in the swamp.

Figure 02: Partings or Splits in Coal Seam

These are terms applied to sections in the seam where it has become constricted by the
squeezing in, or extended by the bulging out of the overlying or underlying rocks. They
are due to pressure applied to the seam during the folding and other movements of the
enclosing strata and they may accompany the formation of "horsebacks" and similar

(a) Simple Split
(b) Progressive Split
(c) Zigzag Split
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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This is a term applied by miners to any place in the seam where the coal ends abruptly
on account of faulting, squeezing, or erosion. It may be used in a more restricted sense
for the case where part of the bed has been removed by erosion. It often happens that a
coal-bearing formation suffers erosion and a stream cuts a ravine through one or more
beds of coal. This ravine may be filled later by sand or clay carried in by the stream, or a
Glacier passing over it may fill it with drift consisting of a mixture of clay, sand and
Figure 03: Cut-out in a Coal Seam

Washouts occur where a coal seam has been eroded away by the wave or river current
action and the resultant channel is filled with sediments. The coal may be wholly or
partly removed by this process. Washouts are infilled with clastic material either as
mudstone, siltstone or sandstone, depending upon the nature and size of the
sediments. Washouts are a major problem in mining operations particularly in
underground workings. Washouts can seriously reduce or eliminate the area of
workable coal; therefore the delineation of such features is an essential prerequisite to
mine planning. Detailed exploration data can reveals the washout occurrence in the coal

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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Figure 04: Different modes of Washouts in Coal Seam

These are the opposite phenomenon to washouts, and are characterized by ridges of
rock material protruding upwards into the coal seam. Like washouts they reduce the
mineable thickness of the coal seam. If they have to be mined with the seam, as is
commonly the case the dilution of the coal quality will result in an increase in the ash
content. Floor rolls are often the result of differential compaction of peat around clastic
Figure 05: Different forms of Floor Rolls in Coal Seams

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan

Coal Prospecting is a small-scale form of Coal Exploration, which is an organized, large
scale effort undertaken by mineral resource companies to find commercially
viable Coal deposits. Coal Prospecting is physical labor, involving traversing, panning,
and sifting and outcrop investigation, looking for signs of Coal Deposition. A prospector
must also make claims, meaning they must erect posts with the appropriate placards on
all four corners of a desired land they wish to prospect and register this claim before
they may take samples.

Prospecting for coal may be considered as two operations. One of these is the search for
coal in regions where it has not already been found and the other the testing of
geological formations already known to contain at least some coal.

The fundamental objective of coal prospecting is to discover coal resources through a
search. In areas where coal mining has not been previously practiced, the search
process should result in obtaining coal samples that give reasonable evidence of the
existence of a coal seam. Once a seam has been discovered, considerable further work is
necessary in order to advance knowledge of the particular geologic aspects and the
extent of the coal deposit.

The term coal exploration is used to describe these activities. Coal exploration includes
activities and evaluations necessary to gather data for making decisions on such issues
as the desirability of further exploration, the technical feasibility of mining (including
favorable and unfavorable factors), and economic feasibility (including size of mine, coal
quality assessment, marketability, and preparation of mined coal for market
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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The chief factors which influence the value of the coal lands are:
(01) The proximity of the coal to an important market center
(02) The transportation facilities
(03) The abundance or scarcity of the coal in the district
(04) The nature of the coal
(05) The depth at which it occurs
(06) The thickness of the seam, and
(07) The other geological conditions which affect mining operations such as folded or
faulted strata, abundance of water and the character of the floor and roof of the seam.

The nearness of coal deposits to a good market may be offset by labor difficulties and
poor quality of the coal or the difficulty of mining it, while the handicap of being a
considerable distance from the market may be overcome by good transportation
facilities, especially by water, and the favorable condition of most of the other factors
mentioned. If there be little fuel in the vicinity of a large city the lower grades of coal,
such as lignite, may bring a good price whereas they would scarcely be used if there
were plenty of good bituminous coal or anthracite in the region. Good gas coal is in
demand, especially around cities, and high-grade coking coal is much sought after for
metallurgical purposes. If it occurs in large amounts, industrial centers may grow up in
areas where it is found.
There are several factors which govern the minimum thickness at which coal seams may
be worked. The most important of these factors are:
(01) The market for coal
(02) The character of coal
(03) The nature of the enclosing rocks
(04) The association of a thin seam with other seams
(05) The depth of the seam, and
(06) The training of the miners
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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Weight of Coal in a Foot-Acre
The amount of coal under a given area is estimated by the foot-acre and it is directly
related to the specific gravity of a solid mass of the coal. A cubic foot of water weighs
62.5 pounds. A cubic foot of coal with a specific gravity of 1.3, a good average for
bituminous coal, will, therefore, weigh 81.25 pounds. This gives 24.6 cubic feet per short
ton and 27.5 cubic feet for a long ton of 2240 pounds. It is often assumed that 0.9 cubic
yard of bituminous coal equals one ton. This is equivalent to 24.3 cubic feet per short
ton and corresponds very well with the figure given above.

Royalties Paid on Leases
The royalty paid on coal -lands varies greatly in different fields. The variation is very
much greater than in the price of coal at the mine in the different fields, and the
difference in royalty demanded does not always correspond to the difference in the
price per acre, which might be demanded for land in different areas. This is because the
rate at which the coal is mined has an important bearing on the relative income from
the royalty and that from the sale of the land, since the interest on the money and the
taxes amount to a considerable item if the time required for mining the coal be long.

Economic Factors
Among the most important factors that influence the progress of a coal deposit, from a
resource to a reserve or vice versa are the price of coal in the energy market and the
costs of producing the coal for that market. Currently, seams less than 30 centimeters (1
foot) in thickness are not considered economically recoverable. Furthermore, extraction
from seams at great depthi.e., over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet)presents great
difficulties. Other geologic features, such as excessively steep seams, extensive faulting
and folding, washouts created by erosion and sedimentation, and burnout of the coal
seams by igneous intrusion, all affect the amount and quality of coal that can be
recovered from a seam.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan


Pakistan is endowed with many natural resources particularly with coal, but,
unfortunately, coal has not been developed for more than three decades due to lack of
infrastructure, insufficient financing and absence of modern coal mining technical
expertise. The Government has now determined to facilitate private investors to
promote investment in coal development and coal power generation. It is anticipated
that, if properly exploited, Pakistan s coal resources may generate more than 100,000
MW of electricity for the next 30 years.
In Pakistan, the conditions favorable for the formation of coal existed during the
PaleoceneEocene age. Coal is being commercially exploited from rocks of the Hangu
Formation and Patala Formation (Paleocene) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab
provinces. Ghazij Formation (Eocene) is the coal bearing rock formation in Balochistan
while Bara Formation (Paleocene) and Sonhari Beds of Laki Formation (Eocene) contain
large deposits of coal in Sindh. Some Permian coal has reported from Punjab. According
to rough estimates, the total coal reserves of Pakistan are more than 185billion tons.

The presence of coal deposits in Pakistan was known before independence, but its
economic value was highlighted in 1980 when large reserves of coal were discovered in
the Lakhra and Sonda areas of Sindh Province. The discovery of another huge coal
deposit of 175.5 billion tons in an area of 10,000 sq. km in Tharparkar District of Sindh
has provided a quantum increase in the coal resources of Pakistan. After this discovery,
Pakistan is now the 6th richest nation of the world in respect of coal resources. Pakistan
did not appear even on the list of coal-rich countries before the discovery of Thar Coal.
Coal resources available to Pakistan exist in all four provinces and in AJK. The total coal
reserves are estimated at 185.5 billion tones.
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The Province of Sindh is located in the south of Pakistan. Coal was discovered in Sindh in
1853 when Baloch nomads reportedly struck a coal seam 2.43 meters thick at a depth of
125 meters by sinking a well for water at Lakhra, a village on the western bank of the
River Indus in district Dadu. Burmah Oil Company in 1948, and Pak Hunt International in
1953, recorded the presence of coal at Lakhra in holes drilled in search of oil.

The Habibullah Mines Ltd. started commercial mining of coal in Lakhra in 1959. The total
coal resources of Sindh have been estimated to 184.6 billion tons whereas the coal
deposits of Thar alone are estimated at 175.5 billion tons, which can ideally be utilized
for power generation. In addition to Thar, the other coalfields of Sindh are at Lakhra,
Sonda, Jherruck and Indus East. The Lakhra coalfield is fully developed, and contains
mineable coal reserves of 146 million tons.

Sindh coal is classified as Lignite with calorific value ranging from 5,219 to 13,555 Btu/lb.
Thar coal has low sulfur and low ash content but high moisture, whereas Lakhra coal
contains high sulfur. The feasibility study conducted by John T. Boyd & Co. of USA has
confirmed mineability and suitability of Lakhra coal for power generation. The Sonda
coalfield, including Indus East, is the second largest coalfield of Sindh.

1. Thar Coalfield
The Thar coal field is located in the south-eastern part of the Sindh. The first indication
of the presence of coal beneath the sands of the Thar Desert was reported while drilling
water wells by the British Overseas Development Agency (BODA) in coordination with
the SAZDA, in 1991. The Thar coalfield, with a resource potential of 175.5 billion tons of
coal, covers an area of 9000 sq. km in Tharparkar.

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The number of coal seams varies from hole to hole and a maximum of 20 seams have
been logged in some of the drill holes. The thickness of coal seams varies from 0.2 to
22.8 meters, whereas the cumulative coal thickness in one of the drill holes is 36
meters. Claystone and loose sand beds form the roof as well as the floor rocks of coal
seams. The thickness of overburden varies from 112 to 300 meters.

2. Lakhra Coalfield
After the first discovery of coal in 1853, as aforesaid many geological investigations have
been conducted in the Lakhra area by national and international organizations. Interest
in large scale exploration of coal for power generation began to develop in the early
1960s when GSP and USGS performed a systematic geological investigation of the area.
The Lakhra coal is not suitable for coke manufacturing however it can be used for power
generation. The Lakhra coal field is doubly plunging anticline, known as the Lakhra
Anticline. Its axis runs in a north-eastern direction. The folding is gentle and strata dips
at 7 degrees. A group of faults parallel to the anticline axis and dipping 70 to 80 degrees,
with a small down-throw, exist in the coal field area. Significant coal beds are Dhanwari,
Lailian and Kath. The Lailian seam, persistent throughout the area, is 3 meters thick. The
overall average thickness of the Lakhra coal seam is 1.5 meter. The over burden of the
first mineable coal seam ranges from 50 to 150 meters. The total coal resources of
Lakhra are estimated at 1.328 Billion tons of 146 million tons is considered mineable.

3. Sonda-Jherruck Coalfield
The Sonda-Jherruck coal field was discovered by GSP/USGS in 1981. During 1989 to 1986
GSP drilled 80 boreholes in the area, which covers an area of 1500 sq. km. The drilling
data indicates that the coal bed is about 6.2 meters thick and the overburden is about
120 meters at the first mineable seam. The total coal reserves are estimated to be 7.11
billion tons of which 147 million tons is considered as mineable. The feasibility study of
Sonda coal is yet to be initiated.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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4. Metting-Jhimpir Coalfield
Meting-Jhimpir coalfield lies approximately 125 km to the east of Karachi in the vicinity
of Jhimpir and Meting railway stations on the main railway line. The coalfield covers an
area of about 90 sq. km. The coal deposit belongs to Paleocene age and early Eocene.
Only one workable coal seam is present which is generally thin and lenticular. Its
thickness varies from 0.3 to 1 meter. The coal is of lignite-A to sub-bituminous-B in rank.

There are number of coalfields in Balochistan. However, the major coalfields are Sor-
Range-Degari, Khost-Sharigh-Harnai, Mach and Duki. The total coal reserves are about
217 million tons, of which 32 million tons are considered mineable. The thickness of coal
seams ranges from 0.3 to 2.3 meters.

Balochistan coal is classified as sub-bituminous to bituminous and the heating value
ranges from 9,637 to 15,499 Btu/lb. It has low ash and high sulfur coal, and is
considered suitable for power generation. Small power plants up to 25 MW can be set
up in each coalfield.

1. Sor-Range-Degari Coalfield
Sor-Range-Degari coal-field lies 13 to 25 km south east of Quetta covering an area of
about 50 sq km and is easily accessible through metalled road from Quetta. The
northern half of the field is known as Sor Range, Degari is situated at the southern end
of the field. The thickness of the coal seam varies from 1.0 meter to 2.0 meters but in
Sor-Range seam sections up to 5.0 meters have been encountered. The coal is of better
quality with low ash and sulfur content. The quality of the coal is high sub-bituminous A
to high volatile B bituminous and considered suitable for power generation. Small power
plants up to 25 MW can be setup in each Sor-Range and Degari coalfield.

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2. Khost-Sharigh-Harnai Coalfield
Khost, Sharigh and Harnai coalfields cover an area of 200 sq. km in the Sibi district,
Balochistan. It is located at a distance of 160 km to the East and North-East of Quetta.
The coal is of Bituminous to Sub-bituminous quality. Coal beds are generally thin,
ranging from 0.3 meters to 2.3 meters in thickness and dipping at 60 degrees. The coal is
considered suitable of power generation. Small power plants up to 50 MW can be set
up, based on coal produced from these three small coalfields.

3. Duki coalfield
The Duki coalfield is located in the Loralai District of Balochistan, about 320 km east of
Quetta and is connected by a metalled road. It covers an area of 300 sq. km. and is
characterized by a moderately dipping syncline. The workable seam has a thickness of
0.5 m and is high volatile bituminous coal. The total reserves of Duki coalfield are
estimated at about 13 million tons.

4. Mach Coalfield
The Mach coalfield covers an area of 45 sq. km around Mach town in the Bolan Pass, on
both sides of railway line that connects Quetta with Karachi. Several coal seams are
present, ranging in thickness from 0.3 to 1.5 meters but only three beds with an average
thickness of 0.75 meter are commercially workable. The quality of coal is Sub-
bituminous. The coal is subject to spontaneous combustion and is suitable for power
generation. The coal reserves are estimated to be 23 million tons.

5. Chamalang Coalfield
These are the newly discovered coal-fields which need development. Preliminary work
done by GSP in these areas has indicated that it has a good potential. The quality of coal
is also better as compared to the rest of Balochistan. The rank of the coal ranges from
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high volatile C bituminous to high Volatile A-bituminous with a total resource of 6
million tons. Its heating value is +12000 BTU per pound.

The main coalfields of Punjab are in the Salt-Range and at Makarwal. The total coal
resources are estimated at 235 million tons, of which 33 million tons are mineable.

Punjab coal is classified as Sub-bituminous, and the heating value ranges from 9,472 to
15,801 Btu/lb. It has low ash and high sulfur, and is considered suitable for power

1. Salt-Range Coalfield
The Salt-Range coalfield covers an area of about 260 sq. km between Khushab, Dandot
and Khewra in the Sargodha and Jhelum Districts of Punjab. The total reserves of the
Salt-Range coal are approximately 213 million tons, of which 30 million tons are
mineable. There are more than two coal seams present in the Salt-Range but, in most
cases, only one is mineable which varies in thickness from 0.3 m to 1.5 m with an
average thickness of 0.75 m. Coal quality is Sub-bituminous and is suitable for power
generation. Small power plants of up to 80 MW can be set up.

2. Makarwal Coalfield
The Makarwal coalfield is located in the Mianwali District of Punjab. It covers an area of
about 75 km, situated near Makarwal town and 13 km west of Kalabagh. The coal occurs
in the steeply dipping Hangu Formation and the thickness of its bed ranges from 0.5 to
2.0 m. Total reserves are about 22 million tons and its quality is reported to be Sub-

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The coalfields of NWFP are not yet fully explored. Its coal deposits are located in two
areas, namely Hangu and Cherat (Map 6). The coal resources of Hangu and Cherat are
estimated to be 91 million tons. The coal is classified as Sub-bituminous and its heating
value ranges from 9,386 to 14,217 Btu/lb. It has low sulfur and low ash. The coal beds in
Hangu area are up to 3.5 m thick whereas the coal beds in Cherat area are generally less
than one meter in thickness.

The AJK coalfield is located near Kotli about 80 km south-east of Islamabad. One or two
coal beds occur in the steeply dipping Patala Formation having an average thickness of
0.6 m. The total coal resources of AJK are estimated at 0.06 million tons. The coal is
classified as Sub-bituminous and the heating value ranges from 7,336 to 12,338 Btu/lb.
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Pakistan now possesses the seventh largest lignite resource in the world with 193 billion
tons of lignite/coal reserves mainly concentrated in the Thar region in the eastern part
of Sindh Province, about 400 km east of Karachi as shown in Figure 06. THAR Coalfield is
located at 24 4345 North Latitude and 244930 and East Longitude 70 1735 - 70
2430. Its mean altitude above sea level is 90 meters. Oct-Mar with mean lowest
temperature of 16.4 C are the cooler months, and Apr-Sep with mean-highest
temperature of 43.8 C are the warmer months. Its Accessibility is through a 418
kilometers road system from Karachi. Route of the road is via Thatta, Badin and Mithi.
The Thar coalfield covers an area of approximately 9000 km
, where lignite/brown coal
beds lie at depths of between 130 m and 250 m. This large deposit of coal was
discovered at Thar over a decade ago by the Sindh Arid Zone Development Authority,
while drilling water wells. The Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and the United States
Geological Survey (USGS) under the Coal Resources Exploration and Assessment
Program (COALREAP) confirmed this lignite field in 1994.

The Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and Deep Rock Drilling (DRD) have completed a
detailed assessment of coal resources in eight blocks of the Thar coalfield. The area
covered by this exploration program is 730 km
, containing some 19.344 billion tons of
reserves. This represents 89% of Pakistan's total recoverable reserves. Analysis of the
Thar lignite indicates a relatively low heating value, between 9.4 and 12.7 million Btu
per ton. The most appropriate large-scale application of the lignite is for power
generation, and worldwide more than 90% of lignite and brown coal is used for this
purpose. Chemical analysis of some 2000 coal samples has been undertaken, and the
rank of coal has been determined, ranging from lignite-B to sub-bituminous-A. The
weighted average composition of lignite-B at Thar is presented in Table 02.
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Figure 06: Location of Thar Coalfield

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S. No. Parameter % composition
01 Moisture (as received) 46.77 %
02 Fixed Carbon (AR) 16.66 %
03 Volatile Matter 23.42 %
04 Ash (AR) 6.24 %
05 Sulfur 1.16 %
06 Heating Value 5,774 btu/lb
Table 02: Showing the Composition of Thar Lignite [after Thomas, et al., 1994)

Lignite seams in the Thar area are found in the Bara formation of the Paleocene/Eocene
age. The Bara formation is some 95 m thick consisting of sandy/silty Claystone and a
sandstone formation overlying the basement granite lying at a depth of 100 m to 220 m.
The basement rock is very light grey, weathered, medium compacted-granite containing
fine to coarse quartz grains. The overlying Bara formation consists of layers of
carbonaceous clay stone, sandy Claystone and silty Claystone. Carbonaceous Claystone
is medium light grey to brown in color containing carboniferous petrified roots,
carbonaceous materials and rare sandy resin globules. The olive grey to dark-grey
Claystone containing petrified plant roots and pyretic resin globules overlies this

There are number of coal seams of varying thickness ranging from 3 m to 21 m at an
average depth of 170 m. The Bara formation is overlaid by the sub-recent formation
comprising inter-bedded carbonaceous sandstone, siltstone and Claystone up to 65 m
thick, at a depth of 52 125 m. The recent formation overlying the sub-recent formation
consists of some 50 m of thick dune sand. This sand is fine to medium grained, yellowish
grey in color, containing sub-rounded and moderately sorted grains of ferromagnesian
minerals. Figure 07 shows the stratigraphic section and lithology of the Thar coalfield.

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Figure 07: Stratigraphy of Thar lignite field (based on R W E Power International, 2004)

The coal will be extracted by using surface mining method Open Pit. In loose strata,
only drilling blasting will be adopted. Special care shall be taken for controlled blasting
to minimized vibration to avoid rock rupturing and to prevent from slope failure. Open
pit optimization, output and man power planning, quality control and conservation,
mine scheduling, slope stability analysis, productivity and maintenance of Heavy Earth
Moving machinery, in-pit crushing and conveying, continuous surface mining, high angle
conveying. Mine and in all production schedules the annual waste volumes have been
adapted to a certain extent in order to smoothen the overburden removal capacity and
thus the number and size of equipment needed over the different phases of mine
development and mine position maps have been prepared for the basic alternatives to
show the mine advance during the project lifetime of about 30 years.

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Benefits of an indigenous fuel are countless. The major benefits of development of coal
as a fuel would be:
Sustainable, reliable and less expensive indigenous fuel (coal)
Saving in foreign exchange otherwise required for import of oil as a fuel including for
power generation
Employment generation effect and massive economic activity
Step towards a self-reliant economy
Investment in coal mining will generate employment and economic activity in the
country; whereas, money spent on imported fuel would generate economic activity
in the fuel producing / exporting countries.
Congestion caused at the ports in handling of import of oil and impact of
transportation of oil from ports to project sites also, would be avoided by developing
coal as a fuel including for power generation.

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Coal is a term applied to the vegetation matter (trees, grasses etc.) which was subjected
to heat and pressure through geological ages. It is a heterogeneous rock composed of
different kinds of organic matter which vary in their proportions in different coals, and
no two coals are absolutely identical in nature, composition and origin.

The physical properties are concerned with the characteristics of coal in its natural state,
or prior to its end use as a fuel. For example, hardness and grindability of coal determine
the maintenance cost for coal mining, handling and grinding equipments. The specific
gravity of coal and its associated minerals determines coal preparation or washing
techniques requirements. Following are some important physical properties of coal:

01. Specific Gravity
The specific gravity of a solid is the ratio of the weight of a cubic foot of the solid to the
weight of a cubic foot of water. The specific gravity of the pure coal has been reported
to be ranging between 1.23 to 1.72 and increase with the change in rank from lignite to
anthracite. The impurities associated with the coal, such as shale, clays, sandstones,
gypsum, calcite etc. range in specific gravity from 2.0 to 2.7, while the specific gravity of
pyrite is about 5.0. These differences in specific gravity from the basis for separation of
coal from its impurities by most coal cleaning methods.

02. Hardness
Hardness of coal depends upon its structure and rank. It increases with the rank of coal.
Anthracite is the hardest coal and lignite is the softer. Harder colas may be transported
for longer distances as they can resist the breakage and produce less degradation in
handling. The abrasiveness and harness also play a major part in equipment wearing and
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03. Grindability
Grindability is the physical property of coal which determines the relative ease of
pulverizing or grinding a coal. This is a composite property including many factors such
as, hardness, strength and fracture. Grindability is a very important factor in crushing
and grinding of coal as the capacity, power input and maintenance cost for the
equipments, depend upon the grindability of the coal.

04. Friability or Size Stability
Friability of coal refers to its ability to withstand the breakage in handling and
transportation. Such properties have great significance in coal cleaning because cleaning
cost increase with increasing amount of finer size in the feed to the washing plants.

05. Fracture or Cleats
Fracture refers to the manner in which the coal pieces break. Anthracite and bituminous
coal produces conchoidal fractures. In most coal seams, there are vertical fractures or
cleavages called cleats, which cross the seam in two directions at right angles to each
other. There are two types of cleats; face cleat and butt cleat. The face cleats are longer
and more closely developed into the coal seams. Butt cleats are shorter and irregular in

Figure 08: Cleats in Coal
Face Cleats
But Cleats
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06. Weathering
Weathering is the tendency of coal to break apart on exposure to weather, particularly
alternate drying and wetting or exposure to hot sunshine. When a coal (usually lignite)
containing high amount of moisture, exposed in air, it loses moisture rapidly and breaks.

The major constituents of coal are Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Sulfur and Oxygen. The
chemical properties of coal are concerned with the characteristics of coal based upon its
chemical constituents. These characteristics are determined to large extent by the

Type and vegetation from which the coal was originally formed
The extent to which the decay was permitted to proceed
The temperature and pressure to which the decaying vegetation was subjected


01. Carbon
Carbon in coal increases with the rank, from lignite to anthracite. The carbon content of
coal supplies most of its heating value. It is the actual element that burns and produces
heat or energy.

02. Hydrogen
The hydrogen content of coal generally ranges from 4.5% to 5.5% and also supplies
some of the heating value. The hydrogen in dry coal occurs predominantly in saturated
or partially saturated ring structures with the carbon. In addition, hydrogen also present
as moisture, and water of hydration of shaly portion of the coal.

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03. Nitrogen
Nitrogen may be the only element in coal that is present almost exclusively in organic
combination. The amount present may vary from 1% to 2% or sometimes 3%.
Bituminous coal generally contains more nitrogen than lignite and anthracite. In
combustion, the nitrogen is converted primarily to elemental nitrogen, ammonia or
nitrous oxide.

04. Sulfur
Sulfur in coal occurs in three forms, sulfate sulfur, organic (inherent) and inorganic
(free). Sulfate sulfur is of less importance, rarely present up to 0.1%. Large sulfate values
are sometimes indicative of a weathered sample. The organic sulfur appears to be
uniformly distributed throughout the coal substances. The sulfur which present in
organic hydrocarbon chain is known to be as Organic Sulfur. Inorganic sulfur chiefly
composed of pyrite (Fe
S). Pyritic sulfur can be removed from the coal by using physical
separation processes, whereas organic sulfur can only be removed by biochemical
reaction with some special type of bacteria. In recent years, the sulfur removal from
coals has gain much importance as it is a major air pollutant and cause corrosion and
rusting to the combustion equipments.

05. Oxygen
Oxygen occurs in coal in many forms. Hydroxyl, Carbonyl and Carboxyl groups may be
present, particularly in lower rank coals. Oxygen content data are useful in coking,
gasification and liquefaction of coal.

06. Mineral Matter (Ash)
All coals contain noncombustible mineral matter or it is the inorganic part of the coal
that does not combust. Coal ash varies greatly in its chemical composition. It is a
mixture of silica (SiO
), alumina (Al
), Lime (CaO), gypsum (CaSO
O), sodium oxide
O), potassium oxide (K
O), phosphorus penta-oxide (P
) etc.
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Chemical Properties of coal are elaborated as under:
01. Moisture
Moisture is an important property of coal. There are several sources of the water found
in coal. The vegetation from which coal was formed had a high percentage of water.
Moisture held within the coal itself is known as inherent moisture and is analyzed
quantitatively. Moisture may occur in four possible forms within coal:

Surface moisture: Water held on the surface of coal particles
Hydroscopic moisture: Water held within the microfractures of the coal
Decomposition moisture: Water held within the coal's decomposed organic
Mineral moisture: Water which comprises part of the crystal structure of hydrous
silicates such as clays.

Total moisture is analyzed by loss of mass between an untreated sample and the sample
once analyzed. This is achieved by any of the following methods;

Heating the coal with toluene.
Drying in a minimum free-space oven at 150 C (300 F) within a nitrogen
Drying in air at 100 to 105 C (210 to 220 F) and relative loss of mass determined.

02. Volatile Matter
Volatile matter in coal refers to the components of coal, except for moisture, which are
liberated at high temperature in the absence of air. This is usually a mixture of short and
long chain hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons. The volatile matter of coal is
determined under rigidly controlled standards. ASTM Standard procedures involve the
heating of coal to 950 C in an inert environment (absence of air).

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03. Ash
Ash content of coal is the non-combustible residue left after coal is burnt. It represents
the bulk mineral matter after carbon, oxygen, sulfur and water has been driven off
during combustion. Analysis is fairly straightforward, burning the coal at 750 C in air
and the residue left after burning is the amount of ash in coal.

04. Fixed Carbon
The fixed carbon content of the coal is the carbon found in the material which is left
after volatile materials are driven off. This differs from the ultimate carbon content of
the coal because some carbon is lost in hydrocarbons with the volatiles. Fixed carbon is
used as an estimate of the amount of free carbon that will be readily available for
combustion. Fixed carbon is determined by removing the mass of volatiles determined
by the volatility test, above, from the original mass of the coal sample.

01. Particle Size Distribution
The particle size distribution of crushed coal depends partly on the rank of the coal,
which determines its brittleness, and on the handling, crushing and grinding efficiency.
Generally coal is utilized in furnaces and coking ovens at a certain size, so the
crushability of the coal must be determine. It is necessary to know these data before
coal is mined, so that suitable crushing machinery can be designed to optimize the
particle size for transport and use.

02. Abrasion Testing
Abrasion is the property of the coal which describes its tendency and ability to wear
away machinery and undergo autonomous grinding. While carbonaceous matter in coal
is relatively soft, quartz and other mineral constituents in coal are quite abrasive. This is
tested in a calibrated mill, containing four blades of known mass. The coal is agitated in
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the mill for 12,000 revolutions at a rate of 1,500 revolutions per minute. The abrasion
index is determined by measuring the loss of mass of the four metal blades.

01. Specific Energy
Aside from physical or chemical analyses to determine the handling and pollutant profile
of a coal, the energy output of a coal is determined using a bomb calorimeter which
measures the specific energy output of a coal during complete combustion. This is
required particularly for coals used in power generation.

02. Ash Fusion Test
The behavior of the coal's ash residue at high temperature is a critical factor in selecting
coals for steam power generation. Most furnaces are designed to remove ash as a
powdery residue. Coal which has ash that fuses into a hard glassy slag known as clinker
is usually unsatisfactory in furnaces as it requires cleaning. However, furnaces can be
designed to handle the clinker, generally by removing it as a molten liquid.
Ash fusion temperatures are determined by viewing a molded specimen of the coal ash
through an observation window in a high-temperature furnace. The ash, in the form of a
cone, pyramid or cube, is heated steadily past 1000 C to as high a temperature as
possible, preferably 1600 C (2900 F).

03. Crucible Swelling Index (Free Swelling Index)
The simplest test to evaluate whether a coal is suitable for production of coke is the free
swelling index test. This involves heating a small sample of coal in a standardized
crucible to around 800 degrees Celsius. After heating for a specified time, or until all
volatiles are driven off, a small coke button remains in the crucible. The cross sectional
profile of this coke button compared to a set of standardized profiles determines the
Free Swelling Index.
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For homogeneous materials, sampling protocols are relatively simple and
straightforward, although caution is always advised lest overconfidence cause errors in
the method of sampling as well as introduce extraneous material. On the other hand,
the heterogeneous nature of coal (Speight, 1994, and references cited therein)
complicates the sampling procedures. The variable composition of coal offers many
challenges to analysts who need to ensure that a sample under investigation is
representative of the coal. Thus, to test any particular coal, there are two criteria that
must be followed for a coal sample
(1) Ensure that the sample is a true representative of the bulk material, and
(2) Ensure that the sample does not undergo any chemical or physical changes after
completion of the sampling procedure and during storage prior to analysis.
In short, the reliability of a sampling method is the degree of perfection with which the
identical composition and properties of the entire body of coal are obtained in a sample.
The reliability of the storage procedure is the degree to which the coal sample remains
unchanged, thereby guaranteeing the accuracy and usefulness of the analytical data.
Sampling plays an important role in all aspects of coal technology. The usual example
given is the determination of coal performance in a power plant. However, an equally
important objective relates to exploration and sampling of coal reserves as they exist in
the ground. The issues in this case relate not only to determining the extent of the coal
resource but also to the quality of the coal so that the amount may be determined.
Thus, sampling in connection with exploration is subject to:
(1) The location
(2) The spacing of the drilled holes
(3) The depth from which the sample is taken, and
(4) The size of core drills used.
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These criteria must be taken into consideration when assessing the quality and quantity
of coal in the deposit being explored. Sampling may be manual or mechanical,
depending on the type of sampling device used. Table 03 illustrates the sampling and
analytical procedures that are used for coal evaluation.

S. No. Test/Property Results/Comments
01 Sample information
Sample history
Sampling date, sample type, sample origin (mine,
02 Sampling protocols Assurance that sample represents gross consignment
03 Chemical properties
Proximate analysis
Determination of the approximate overall
composition (i.e., moisture, volatile matter, ash, and
fixed carbon content)
04 Ultimate analysis Absolute measurement of the elemental composition
(i.e., carbon, hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen
05 Sulfur forms
Ash properties
Chemically bonded sulfur: organic, sulfide, or sulfate
06 Elemental analysis Major elements
07 Mineralogical analysis Analysis of the mineral content
08 Trace element analysis Analysis of trace elements; some enrichment in ash
09 Ash fusibility Qualitative observation of temperature at which ash
passes through defined stages of fusing and flow

Table 03: Sampling and Analytical Methods Used for Coal Evaluation
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Coal analysis techniques are specific analytical methods designed to measure the
particular physical and chemical properties of coals. These methods are used primarily
to determine the suitability of coal for various industrial applications such as coking,
power generation, iron or steel manufacturing etc. there are two basic coal analysis
techniques, i.e. Proximate analysis and Ultimate analysis of coal.

The proximate analysis of coal is an assay of the moisture, ash, volatile matter, and fixed
carbon as determined by series of prescribed or standard test methods. It was
developed as a simple means of determining the distribution of products obtained when
the coal sample is heated under specified conditions. By definition, the proximate
analysis of coal separates the products into four groups:
(1) Moisture
(2) Volatile matter, consisting of gases and vapors driven off during pyrolysis
(3) Fixed carbon, the nonvolatile fraction of coal; and
(4) Ash, the inorganic residue remaining after combustion.
The standard test method for proximate analysis (ASTM D-3172) covers the methods of
analysis associated with the proximate analysis of coal and coke and is, in fact, a
combination of the determination of each of three of the properties and calculation of a
fourth. Moisture, volatile matter, and ash are all determined by subjecting the coal to
prescribed temperature levels for prescribed time intervals. The losses of weight are, by
stipulation, due to loss of moisture and, at the higher temperature, loss of volatile
matter. The residue remaining after ignition at the final temperature is called ash. Fixed
carbon is the difference of these three values summed and subtracted from 100. In low-
volatile materials such as coke and anthracite coal, the fixed-carbon value equates
approximately to the elemental carbon content of the sample.
The final results of the proximate analysis of coal are usually reported to the first
decimal place; any subsequent figures have little or no significance. The final report of
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the analysis should always contain the results on a basis of air-dried coal (i.e., coal in its
most stable condition and in which it was analyzed), but for purposes of classification or
comparison it is often necessary to convert to another basis, such as dry coal, dry, ash-
free coal, or as-received coal.

01. Moisture
Moisture is the important property of coal, as all coals are mined wet. Total moisture is
analyzed by loss of mass between an untreated sample and the sample once analyzed.
The Moisture content of a coal sample is determined by drying the coal sample in an
oven at 110C, till constant weight is achieved.
The moisture content of a coal sample is then calculated as follows:

= M

Where, M = Moisture Content (%)
= Weight of Coal Sample before drying
= Weight of Coal Sample after drying

02. Volatile Matter
Volatile matter in coal refers to the components of coal, which are liberated at high
temperature in the absence of air. This is usually a mixture of short and long chain
hydrocarbons, and aromatic hydrocarbons. The volatile matter of coal is determined
under rigidly controlled standards. This involves heating the coal sample to 900 5C
(1650 10F) in absence of air, for 10 minutes.

03. Ash
Ash is the non-combustible residue, left after the coal is burnt. It represents the bulk
mineral matter after carbon, oxygen, sulfur and water (including from clays) has been
driven off during combustion. Analysis is simply straightforward, with the coal
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thoroughly burnt and the ash material expressed as a percentage of the original weight.
The coal sample place in 500C in oven for one hour, latter temperature should be
raised to 750C for fifteen minutes more.

04. Fixed Carbon
The fixed carbon content of the coal is the carbon that remains in the coal after the
determination of volatile material. This differs from the ultimate carbon content of the
coal because some carbon is lost in hydrocarbons with the volatiles. The numerical value
(in %) of fixed carbon is obtained by subtracting the sum of moisture, ash and volatile
matter, from 100.
Fixed Carbon = 100 (Moisture + Volatiles + Ash)

The Ultimate analysis of coal is performed to determine the amount of basic chemical
constituents of coal. The ultimate analysis of coal involves determination of the weight
percent of Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), Nitrogen (N), Sulfur (S) and Oxygen (O, usually
estimated by difference). Trace elements that occur in coal are often included as a part
of the ultimate analysis.
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Coal is one of the worlds most plentiful energy resources, and its use is likely to
quadruple by 2020. Coal occurs in a wide range of forms and qualities; but there are two
broad categories:
(a) Hard coal, which includes coking coal, used to produce steel, and other bituminous
and anthracite coals used for steam and power generation, and
(b) Brown coal (sub bituminous and lignite), which is used mostly as onsite fuel.

The depth, thickness, and configuration of the coal seams determine the mode of
extraction. Shallow, flat coal deposits are mined by surface processes, which are
generally less costly per ton of coal mined than underground mines of similar capacity.
Underground mining is used for deep seams. Underground mining methods vary
according to the site conditions, but all involve the removal of seams followed by more
or less controlled subsidence of the overlying strata.

The main impacts of surface mining are, in general, massive disturbances of large areas
of land and possible disruption of surface and groundwater patterns. In some surface
mines, the generation of acid mine drainage (AMD) is a major problem. Other significant
impacts include fugitive dust and disposal of overburden and waste rock.

In underground mines, the surface disturbance is less obvious, but the extent of
subsidence can be very large. Methane generation and release can also be a problem
under certain geological conditions. If groundwater systems are disturbed, the
possibility of serious pollution from highly saline or highly acidic water exists. Impacts
may continue long after mining ceases.

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Early planning, careful design of operations and vigilant development of mining are the
key factors to minimizing pollution associated with mining activities. Specific
responsibilities should be assigned for the implementation and monitoring of
environmental measures. Before mining begins, a mining plan and a mine closure and
restoration plan must be prepared and approved. These plans define the sequence and
nature of extraction operations and detail the methods to be used in closure and
restoration. Plans should be updated regularly (every 3 to 5 years) as mining progresses.

The development plan defines the sequence and nature of extraction operations and
describes in detail the methods to be used in closure and restoration. At a minimum, the
plan must address the following:
Removal and proper storage of topsoil.
Early restoration of worked-out areas and of spoil heaps to minimize the extent of
open areas.
Diversion and management of surface and groundwater to minimize water pollution
problems. Simple treatment to reduce the discharge of suspended solids may also
be necessary. (Treatment of saline groundwater may be difficult.)
Identification and management of areas with high potential for AMD generation.
Minimization of AMD generation by reducing disturbed areas and isolating drainage
streams from contact with sulfur-bearing materials.
Preparation of a water management plan for operations and post-closure that
includes minimization of liquid wastes by methods such as recycling water from the
tailings wash plant.
Minimization of spillage losses by proper design and operation of coal transport and
transfer facilities.
Reduction of dust by early re-vegetation and by good maintenance of roads and
work areas. Specific dust suppression measures, such as minimizing drop distances,
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covering equipment, and wetting storage piles, may be required for coal handling
and loading facilities. Release of dust from crushing and other coal processing and
beneficiation operations should be controlled.
Control of the release of chemicals (including floatation chemicals) used in
beneficiation processes.
Minimization of the effects of subsidence by careful extraction methods in relation
to surface uses.
Control of methane, a greenhouse gas, to less than 1% by volume, to minimize the
risk of explosion in closed mines; recovery of methane where feasible. (When
methane content is above 25% by volume, it normally should be recovered.)
Development of restoration and re-vegetation methods appropriate to the specific
site conditions.
Proper storage and handling of fuel and chemicals used on site, to avoid spills.

The plan should include reclamation of open pits, waste piles, beneficiation tailings,
sedimentation basins, and abandoned mine, mill, and camp sites. Mine reclamation
plans should incorporate the following measures:
Return of the land to conditions capable of supporting prior land use, equivalent
uses, or other environmentally acceptable uses.
Use of overburden for backfill and of topsoil (or other plant growth medium) for
Contouring of slopes to minimize erosion and runoff
Planting of native vegetation to prevent erosion and encourage self-sustaining
development of a productive ecosystem on the reclaimed land
Management of post-closure AMD and beneficiation tailings
Budgeting and scheduling of pre- and post-abandonment reclamation activities.
Upon mine closure, all shaft openings and mine adits should be sealed or secured.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan ( 1 )

Coal is mined using giant machines to remove the coal from the ground. There are two
basic methods to remove coal: surface mining and underground mining. Surface mining
is used when the coal is typically less than 200 feet below the surface. Giant machines
are used to remove the top layers of soil and rock to expose the coal. The coal is
excavated, and after the mining is complete, the soil and rock are returned to fill the
mine. The area is then re-vegetated and can be used for other purposes, such as
cropland, wildlife habitat, recreation, commercial, or industrial use. This method is used
most frequently in the United States because much of the coal resource base is near the
surface and it is less expensive than underground mining. Underground mining is used
when the coal is buried several hundred feet below the surface or more. Some mines
can extend to depths of more than 1,000 feet. Miners use heavy machinery to cut out
the coal and rely on conveyor systems to transport the coal to the surface. Some
underground mines require elevator shafts to move miners and coal to and from the

01. Strip Mining
Strip mining is accomplished by two techniques, area stripping and contour stripping.
Where coal beds are relatively flat and near the surface, as in much of the Western
United States, area stripping is the dominant technique. In area strip mining, overlying
material is removed from a seam of coal in long, narrow bands, or strips, followed by
removal of the exposed coal. With the exception of the first cut, overburden from each
cut is discarded in the previous cut from which the coal has been removed. These
parallel cuts continue across the coal seam until the thickness of the overburden
becomes too great to be removed economically or until the end of the coal seam or
property is reached. Both single and multiple seams, near the surface, can be mined in
this manner.
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By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan ( 2 )
Overburden removal is usually accomplished in the United States with draglines and
shovels. Much of the overburden contains layers of shale, limestone, or sandstone and
must be blasted before it can be removed. After the overburden is removed, coal is
usually drilled and blasted, then loaded into coal haulers with either a shovel or front-
end loader.
Contour stripping is practiced on steep terrain mostly in the Appalachian Coal Region.
The method consists of removing overburden from the coal bed with the first cut at or
near the outcrop, and proceeding around the hillside. Overburden is stacked along the
outer edge of the bench. After the uncovered bed is removed (successive cuts, usually
two or three) are made until the depth of the overburden becomes too great for
economical recovery of the coal. Contour mining creates a shelf or bench on the side of
the hill. On the inside, it is bordered by the highwall, ranging in height from a few feet to
more than 100 feet, and on the outer side, by a high ridge of spoil. Equipment used for
contour stripping is smaller in size and load capacity than that used for area stripping.
Bulldozers and front-end loaders are often used for overburden removal at these

Figure 08: Strip Mining Method
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By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan ( 3 )
02. Auger Mining (Highwall Mining)
In the eastern United States, auger mining is used on hillside terrain. It requires a
surface cut (removal of overburden and a portion of the coal bed) to allow the auger
access to the bed. It is also used to recover part of the coal left from underground
mining. In the western United States, auger mining is used in conjunction with strip
Coal mining by the auger method entails boring horizontal or near-horizontal holes in an
exposed face of the coal, and loading the coal removed by the auger. Single, dual, or
triple auger heads can remove up to 90 inches of coal for a distance of over 200 feet.
Augering is generally used to supplement recovery at contour or strip mines when the
overburden becomes too great to be economically removed. It is also used where the
terrain is too steep for overburden removal and where recovery by underground
methods would be impractical or unsafe.

Figure 09: Auger Mining Method

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03. Open Pit Mining
In open-pit mining, overburden is removed and placed outside the mining area. The
overburden can be removed with either scrapers or shovels loading into trucks. Mining
begins by drilling and blasting waste rock to expose the coal seams, excavating
additional overburden, and removing and transporting the coal. The pit increases in size
and depth as mining progresses, and it is unusual that overburden, once removed, is
ever returned to the pit. The open pit method is sometimes used in coal mining where
numerous seams lie parallel to each other and outcrop on relatively flat terrain.

Figure 10: Open Pit Mining Method

04. Mountaintop Removal Mining
Mountaintop removal mining (MTR), often referred to as mountaintop mining/valley
fills, is a form of surface mining that involves extreme topographic change to the summit
or summit ridge of a mountain. It is most closely associated with coal mining in the
Appalachian Mountains, located in the eastern United States. The process involves the
removal of up to 1,000 vertical feet of overburden to expose underlying coal seams. The
overburden is often scraped into the adjacent drainage valleys in what is called a valley
fill. Because of its destructive nature, MTR is controversial and is protested by
environmentalists, local residents, and others. Controversy over the practice stems from
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By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan ( 5 )
both the extreme topographical and ecological changes that the mining site undergoes,
as well as from the storage of waste material generated from the mining and processing
of the coal. It is also essentially impossible to re-contour the site to pre-mine conditions
during reclamation. Waivers are often given to mining companies in these cases to use
the leveled area for alternate industrial uses.

Figure 11: Mountain Top Removal Mining

Access to coal deposits for underground mines is provided by:
(1) Drifts which are cut horizontally into a hill.
(2) Slopes which are cut at an angle from the valley bottom into the hill where the coal is
located; and
(3) shafts which are cut straight down deep into the surface by way of a vertical shaft
with an elevator to reach the coal seam.
In underground mining, after the initial development has gained access to the coal bed,
one of three methods is commonly used to extract the coal: room-and-pillar, longwall,
or shortwall.
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By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan ( 6 )
01. Room-and-Pillar Mining Method
Room-and-pillar mining has been used in the United States longer than any other
underground method. Mining is accomplished by driving entries off the panel entries. As
mining advances, rooms are excavated in the coal seam; the strata above the seam are
supported by pillars of coal left in place. After a block panel or section has been mined,
part of the coal in the pillars can be recovered as a retreat is made toward a main entry.
Since about 1950, continuous mining using electric-powered machines to bore, dig, or
rip the coal from the working face has largely replaced conventional mining, which
involved undercutting, drilling, placing explosives, and blasting to extract the coal. Coal
is either loaded directly into shuttle cars by the machine or in a separate operation. So-
called continuous mining is interrupted by stops to support the roof, await shuttle cars,
advance power and water supplies, and service the equipment.

Figure 12 (a):
Room-and-Pillar Mining
(Regular Pillars)

Figure 12 (b):
Room-and-Pillar Mining
(Irregular Pillars)

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By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan ( 7 )
02. Longwall Mining Method
Longwall mining is used most efficiently in uniform coal seams of medium height (42 to
60 inches). As in the roomand-pillar method, longwall mining starts with sets of entries
cut into the panel areas. The difference in the technique lies in the distance between
these sets of entries and the method used to extract intervening coal. Longwall blocks
range from 300 to 600 feet wide and are sometimes a mile long. The longwall machine
laterally shears or plows coal from the entire face, transports the fallen coal by an
advancing conveyor to a secondary haulage conveyor, reverses direction at the end of a
cut, and supports the roof in the area of the face by a self-advancing system of hydraulic
jacks. Over 80% of the entire coal face can be removed with this method. The roof is
allowed to cave behind the advancing work areas; the roof is occasionally blasted to
ensure a controlled cave-in rate and to reduce overburden pressure on the coal bed
being mined.

Figure 13: Longwall Mining Method (Plan View)

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By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan ( 8 )

Figure 14: Longwall Mining (Sectional View)

03. Shortwall Mining Method
The shortwall method of mining coal is best described as a method similar to longwall
mining with two exceptions. The blocks of panels are smaller, usually ranging from 100
to 150 feet wide and 300 feet long and the coal is cut with a continuous miner and is
loaded into shuttle cars.

After coal is removed, it typically goes on a conveyor belt to a preparation plant that is
located at the mining site. The plant cleans and processes coal to remove dirt, rock, ash,
sulfur, and other unwanted materials, increasing the heating value of the coal. The coal
may also be sorted by quality and size. Once the coal is processed it is shipped to
wherever it is needed, typically by rail, but also by truck or barge or even a coal-slurry
pipeline. Transportation methods depend on the distance to be traveled and access to
existing transportation systems.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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Coal haulage, the transport of mined coal from working faces to the surface, is a major
factor in underground-mine efficiency. It can be considered in three stages: face
or section haulage, which transfers the coal from the active working faces; intermediate
or panel haulage, which transfers the coal onto the primary or main haulage; and the
main haulage system, which removes the coal from the mine. The fundamental
difference between face, intermediate, and main haulages is that the last two are
essentially auxiliary operations in support of the first. Face haulage systems must be
designed to handle large, instantaneous production from the cutting machines, whereas
the outer haulage systems must be designed to accommodate such surges from several
operating faces. Use of higher-capacity equipment in combination with bins or bunkers
is common. In addition, face haulage systems generally discharge onto ratio-feeders or
feeder-breakers in order to even out the flow of material onto the intermediate systems
and to break very large lumps of coal or rock to below a maximum size.

In room-and-pillar systems, electric-powered, rubber-tired vehicles called shuttle cars
haul coal from the face to the intermediate haulage system. In some semi mechanized
or manual longwall operations, chain haulage is used, while the face haulage equipment
of choice in modern mechanized longwall systems is an armored face conveyor (AFC). In
addition to carrying coal from the face, the AFC serves as the guide for the longwall
shearer, which rides on it (see above, Mining methods: Longwall mining).

Intermediate haulage in coal mines is provided by panel belts or by mine cars driven by
locomotives. Panel belts have widths ranging from 90 to 150 centimeters, the wider
belts being used with longwall panels. The use of mine cars and locomotives requires
detailed considerations of shuttle-car dumping ramps, locomotive switching
requirements, the inventory of mine cars, and track layout for empties and loads.
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Locomotives are electric or diesel-powered. Mainline haulage is also provided by belt or
railcar. The major differences are only in the size, scope, and permanence of
installations. For example, mainline belts are laid for the life of the mine and are much
wider and faster than intermediate belts. Mainline locomotives are also much larger
than intermediate locomotives, and mainline tracks are built to more exacting standards
of speed and reliability.

For the transport of maintenance and operating supplies to the working sections,
advantage is taken of the mainline, intermediate, and face haulage systems. Monorail
systems or endless-rope haulage systems, which are much like ski lifts, are commonly
used in intermediate and face systems to transport supplies to the working faces. In all-
belt mines, it is not unusual to have trolley rail haulage for carrying workers and
materials to and from the working face. Other supply haulage equipment includes
scoops and battery- or diesel-powered trucks.

In underground mining a hoist or winder is used to raise and lower conveyances within
the mine shaft. Modern hoists are normally powered using electric motors, historically
with direct current drives utilizing solid-state converters; however modern large hoists
utilize alternating current drives that are variable frequency controlled. There are three
principal types of hoists used in mining applications:

01. Drum Hoist
Drum hoists are the most common type of hoist used in North America, South
Africa and South America. When using a drum hoist the hoisting cable is wound around
the drum when the conveyance is lifted. Single-drum hoists can be used in smaller
applications; however double-drum hoists easily allow the hoisting of two conveyances
in balance (i.e. one skip being lifted while a second skip is being lowered). Drum hoists
are mounted on concrete within a hoistroom, the hoisting ropes run from the drum, up
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to the top of the headframe, over a sheave wheel and down where they connect to the
conveyance (cage or skip).

02. Friction Hoist
Friction (or Koepe) hoists are the most common type of hoist used
in Europe, Asia and Australia. The friction hoist was invented in 1877 by Frederick
Kope. Friction hoists are mounted on the ground above the mine shaft, or at the top of
the headframe. Friction hoists utilize tail ropes and counterweights and do not have the
haulage rope fixed to the wheel, but instead passed around it. The tail ropes and
weights offset the need for the motor to overcome the weight of the conveyance and
hoisting rope, thereby reducing the required horsepower of the hoisting motor by up to
30%, with the overall power consumption remaining the same. Friction hoists, unlike
drum hoists, can and normally do use multiple ropes giving them a larger payload
capacity, however since they require a larger safety factor, they are impractical for very
deep shafts.

03. Blair Hiost
The Blair multi-rope hoist is a variation of the double-drum hoist. It is used in extremely
deep shafts as the second drums cable are used to balance the primary load.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 1 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan

The construction of an excavation often means penetrating the local or regional water
table. This causes inflows, which if the country rock is significantly permeable can
become at best, a nuisance to operations and at worst, a hazard. Dry working conditions
are preferable as they reduce wear and tear on machinery, reduce earth moving costs
and often improve slope stability and therefore safety. Wet working conditions are to be
avoided for the following reasons:
Unsafe working conditions
Difficulty in coal handling
Possible slope instability
Reduced operating life of machinery
Nuisance factor
Possible floor heave

To achieve the most effective, least cost method it is essential that the origin of the
ground water is determined. The potential impact of ground water inflow to a mine can
often be assessed at the pre-feasibility stage.

Dewatering means the removal of ground water from an area through the lowering of
the water table. Methods of removal are:
Deep boreholes
Drains and Dewatering galleries
Sump pumping
A combination of some of the above
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Wellpoints and boreholes dewater through the principle of pumping interference. As a
borehole is pumped a cone of depression in the water table develops. When pumping
boreholes are placed close to each other the individual cones of depression combine to
produce an interference effect and therefore lower the water table between them more
effectively than if only one borehole was used.

Drains are a shallow aquifer solution but may be used in combination with deep well
watering to provide a cumulative dewatering effect. A dewatering gallery can be
described as a ring tunnel, often completely encircling the excavation. This effectively
intercepts all ground water flowing towards the quarry or open pit. The ground water is
then pumped to surface. This method was more popular when the cost of ground
breaking was not as high as today.

Sump pumping is the most often used method in the low permeability formations
encountered in the bulk of Southern Africa. Very simply, any ground water seeping into
the excavation gravitates to a low point and from there is pumped to surface. One
disadvantage of sump pumping is that the water can become polluted during either its
travel time in the pit or its residence time in the sump. A typical example would be the
creation of acid water from water in contact with coal in an open cast mine. The water
then has to be treated prior to disposal at a very high cost.

Another disadvantage is the cost of the power required to lift the water from the lowest
point in the mine or quarry to its disposal point. Sump pumping, because of a lack of
information on the volumes of water to be moved, is often poorly managed and can
result in unnecessary production losses. However because of the ease of set up often
sump pumping is often the most obvious and cost effective method of dealing with
ground water inflows. In the long run it may often be the most expensive method.

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

( 3 ) By: Agha Shafi Jawaid Pathan
The selection of a dewatering system is made after the hydrogeological investigation of
the area is conducted. The selection of which major type of dewatering system to use
depends on many factors. Some of these factors are:
Hydrogeological conditions
Length of time pumping is required
Volume of water to be removed
Whether pumping equipment can be installed in the operational area
Availability of drilling and dewatering equipment.
Contractor experience
The characteristics of the water bearing formation that must be determined before
designing a dewatering system are:
Whether the aquifer is confined or unconfined
Transmissivity and storage coefficient of the aquifer
Static water level
Seasonality of potential inflows
Depth and thickness of the aquifer
Sources of recharge to the aquifer and location of these sources
The design of a dewatering system will be specific to the mine under scrutiny. To
achieve the best method of dewatering a multi-disciplinary approach is recommended
making best use of management and mine engineers. This requires the collation of
important information on the mine or quarry including:
Dimensions of the area to be dewatered
Depth to which the water levels must be lowered
Plans for disposal of the water removed
Whether the installation will be permanent or temporary
Quality of the water that has to be removed

Once all the criteria have been assembled a scenario for dewatering can be designed.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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Run-Of-Mine (ROM) Coal
The coal delivered from the mine that reports to the coal preparation plant is called run-
of-mine, or ROM, coal. This is the raw material for CPP, and consists of coal, rocks,
middlings, minerals and contamination. Contamination is usually introduced by mining
process & may include machine parts, used consumables and parts of ground engaging
tools. ROM coal can have a large variability of moisture and maximum particle size.

Coal Handling
Coal needs to be stored at various stages of the preparation process, and conveyed
around the CPP facilities. Coal handling is part of the larger field of bulk material
handling, and is a complex and vital part of the CPP.

Stockpiles provide surge capacity to various parts of the CPP. ROM coal is delivered with
large variations in production rate of tonnes per hour (tph). A ROM stockpile is used to
allow the washplant to be fed coal at lower, constant rate. A simple stockpile is formed
by machinery dumping coal into a pile, either from dump trucks, pushed into heaps with
bulldozers or from conveyor booms. More controlled stockpiles are formed using
stackers to form piles along the length of a conveyor, and reclaimers to retrieve the coal
when required for product loading, etc. Taller and wider stockpiles reduce the land area
required to store a set tonnage of coal. Larger coal stockpiles have a reduced rate of
heat loss, leading to a higher risk of spontaneous combustion.

Travelling, luffing boom stackers that straddle a feed conveyor are commonly used to
create coal stockpiles.

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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Tunnel conveyors can be fed by a continuous slot hopper or bunker beneath the
stockpile to reclaim material. Front-end loaders and bulldozers can be used to push the
coal into feeders. Sometimes front-end loaders are the only means of reclaiming coal
from the stockpile. This has a low up-front capital cost, but much higher operating costs,
measured in dollars per ton handled. High-capacity stockpiles are commonly reclaimed
using bucket-wheel reclaimers. These can achieve very high rates.

Coal Sampling
Sampling of coal is an important part of the process control in the CPP. A grab sample is
a one-off sample of the coal at a point in the process stream, and tends not to be very
representative. A routine sample is taken at a set frequency, either over a period of time
or per shipment. Coal sampling consists of several types of sampling devices, a "cross
cut" sampler to mimic the "stop belt" sample according to ASTM. ASTM is the standard
in which coal must be sampled. A cross cut sampler mounts directly on top of the
conveyor belt. The falling stream sampler is placed at the head section of the belt.

There are several points in the wash plant that many coal operations choose to sample.
The raw coal, before it enters the plant, the refuse, to see what the plant missed. Then
the clean coal, to see exactly what is being shipped. The sampler is set according to Tons
per hour, Feet per minute and top size of the product on the actual belt. A sample is
taken then crushed, and then sub sampled and returned to the main belt. The sample is
sent to an Independent lab for testing where the results will be shared with the buyer as
well as the supplier. The buyer in many cases will also sample the coal again once it is
received to "double check" the results. Continuous measurement of ash, moisture, kCal
(BTU), sulfur Fe, Ca, Na, and other element constituents of the coal are reported by
cross belt elemental analyzers. This information can be calibrated periodically to the lab
data per ASTM methods.

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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The washability characteristics.... of a coal reserve are provided by obtaining liberation
data on the raw coal sample. Liberation refers to the amount of physical breakage
required to separate material of different material densities. Low density material is
clean coal whereas high density material is rejected (rock). The intermediate density
material is called middlings. Liberation data is commonly obtained by float and sink
analysis. The procedures for this analysis are detailed in Australian Standard AS 4156.1
1994 Coal preparation - Higher rank coal - Float and sink testing.

Crushing reduces the overall topsize of the ROM coal so that it can be more easily
handled and processed within the CPP. Crushing requirements are an important part of
CPP design and there are a number of different types.

Screens are used to group process particles into ranges by size. These size ranges are
also called grades. Dewatering screens are used to remove water from the product.
Screens can be static, or mechanically vibrated. Screen decks can be made from
different materials such as high tensile steel, stainless steel, or polyethylene.

Gravity Separation
Gravity separation methods make use of the different relative densities of different
grades of coal, and the reject material.

Jigs are a gravity separation method for coarse coal. Different types of jig include:

Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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Dense Medium Process
Dense medium gravity separation methods use a material such as magnetite to form a
medium denser than water to assist in separation.
A cyclone is a conical vessel in which coal along with finely ground magnetite (media) is
pumped tangentially to a tapered inlet and short cylindrical section followed by a
conical section where the separation takes place. The higher specific gravity fractions
being subject to greater centrifugal forces pull away from the central core and descend
downwards towards the apex along the wall of cyclone body and pass out as
rejects/middlings. The lighter particles are caught in an upward stream and pass out as
clean coal through the cyclone overflow outlet via the vortex finder.
Fluid on entry commences in the outer regions of the cyclone body. This combined with
rotational motion to which it is constrained creates an outer spiral. The existence of a
top central outlet and inability for all the fluid to leave at the cone apex outlet, assist the
inward migration of some of the fluid from the external moving mass. The amount of
inward migration increases as the apex is neared, i.e. the radius decreased and the fluid
which flows in this migratory stream, ultimately reverses its vertical velocity direction
and flows upward to the cyclone over flow outlet, i.e. vortex finder. Since it is at the
same time rotating, the result is an inner spiral.
The Heavy Media Cyclone is lined with very high quality ceramic tiles inside with a
specially designed helical profile. A cyclone is the heart of the washing unit in a Heavy
Media Washery. It is a non-moving part and hence requires very low maintenance.
However, the pressure at the inlet of the cyclone is a very important factor and it is
suggested to maintain a minimum pressure of around D x 9 x 9.81 x density/100 (in
bars), where D = the inner diameter of the cyclone in mm. It is important to note that
the pressure at which pulp (mixture of coal and magnetite) is introduced in the cyclone
is the principal means of controlling the forces within the cyclone. With the decrease in
pressure more coal shall report to the discard/middlings, thus impairing the efficiency of
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If due to some reason the cyclone feed pump is not being able to deliver the required
pressure at the inlet of the cyclone, feed should immediately be stopped and the
pipelines, tank and pump should be properly checked for any jamming and any jamming
should be properly cleaned before starting the circuit or the feed.

Dense Medium Baths (DMBs)
Different types of DMB include:
Teska bath
Daniels bath
Leebar bath
Tromp shallow bath
Drewboy bath
Barvoys bath
Chance cone
Wemco drum

Dense Medium Cyclones
A mixture of raw coal and dense medium enters the cyclone at a predetermined flow
rate and pressure. A vortex is formed, and the high density reject forced to the outside
to the underflow orifice discharge, also called the spigot. The cleaned coal goes
longitudinally down the axis of the cyclone and leaves the cyclone through the overflow
orifice, also called the vortex finder. From the overflow orifice, the coal goes into the
overflow chamber, and is discharged to the next stage of the process.

Fine Coal Methods
Fine coal is cleaned using froth flotation methods. Denver cells and Jameson cells are
two flotation methods used. Spirals perform a simple, low cost and reasonably efficient
separation of finer sized material, based on particle density and size.

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Dewatering Product Coal
Water is removed from the product to reduce the mass, and runoff on the stockpile.
Different methods of dewatering exist, including:
Coarse coal centrifuges
Screen bowl centrifuges
Slurry screens
Dewatering cyclones
Horizontal belt filters

Dewatering Tailings (Reject)
Water is removed from tailings to recycle water. Filters, centrifuges and thickeners are
used in this part of the process. The blackwater which is produced as a by-product is
typically placed in a coal slurry impoundment.

Thickeners are used for dewatering slurries of either tailings or product. A thickener is a
large circular tank that is used to settle out the solid material from the water in the feed
slurry. The separated water is clarified and reused as process water in the CPP.
Thickeners are sized according to the volume of feed slurry to be processed. Typical size
ranges are from 13 to 40m in diameter and 3-4m high. The floor of the thickener is
conical, sloping gently down toward the centre.
The feed is pumped into the feedwell, at the centre of the thickener, near the top. The
feed is normally dosed with flocculants before delivery to the thickener.
The thickened mass is moved toward the bottom centre of the thickener by large rakes
that rotate around the tank. Rotation speed is very slow, and drive torques can be high,
especially for larger diameter thickeners. Drive torque is usually monitored
continuously, as high densities could cause failure of the rakes and drive equipment.
Rakes may have the capacity to be raised to reduce drive torque.
Coal Technology Lecture Notes

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The thickened slurry, also called thickener underflow, is pumped out of the bottom of
the thickener. In the case of product coal, further dewatering is usually required before
shipment. Thickened tailings can be pumped to a tailings dam, combined with larger
sized rejects for disposal (co-disposal), or dewatered further before disposal.

Control and Instrumentation
Control and instrumentation is a very important part of a CPP. Measurement of flow,
density, levels, ash and moisture are inputs to the control system. PLCs are used
extensively in plant design. SCADA systems are typically used to control the process.
Other instrumentation found in plants includes density gauges and online elemental
coal analyzers.