Oct 7, 2022

Trialling of dry sorter coal-beneficiation solution targeted for 2019

Mounting stress on South Africa’s water resources, combined with growing concerns about the environmental impact of mining operations, make Aury Africa’s 400 tph dry sorting technology ideal for environmentally-conscious mining houses.

Aury Africa aims to bring its first dry separator to South Africa for trial at a coal mine in 2019, Business Development Manager George Sturgeon reveals. Aury Africa, a subsidiary of design and construction coal group DADI Engineering Development Group, is in discussions with its sister company Meiteng Technology Group to bring in its Telligent Dry Separator (TDS).

The TDS was developed by high-technology company Tianjin Meiteng Technology, another DADI subsidiary, in 2015. Aury Africa launched the technology locally at the South African Coal Processing Society’s biennial conference in Secunda in September 2017. At that time, three operating mines in China were using the equipment.

The TDS constitutes intelligent dry separation technology. Aury Africa Managing Director Sydney Parkhouse explains that “basically coal is conveyed on an enclosed conveying system, single layered. The enclosed system, which incorporates dual X-ray technology, is simple to operate.” It can be retrofitted to an existing coal-processing plant in various configurations.

The system features image-identification technology, with the separator accurately identifying and separating coal without using water or any other medium. There is also no slime generation, with the TDS subsequently producing a higher yield of coarse coal at low operational cost at an increased return-on-investment, compared to conventional process systems.

The technology can process 300 mm to 50 mm and 100 mm to 25 mm raw coal, with an upper throughput  of about 400 tph. The higher tonnage output makes the TDS more efficient compared to competitor dry sorter technology. Aury Africa is continuously striving to improve the technology’s separation capabilities in order to achieve coal sizing down to 12 mm.

Sturgeon highlights that the technology is fully automated and modular, with a self-diagnostic system. “The longer the unit runs, the more accurate it becomes – the margin of reject material compared to coal is reduced, as the TDS learns and adapts continuously,” Parkhouse adds.

Aury Africa Production and Support Manager John Wills points out that the fact that the TDS does not use any water during operation makes it a fundamentally invaluable technology for ‘greening’ the coal-mining industry. “There is increasing focus from mines to be environment-friendly, with significant pressure on the coal industry to go ‘green’ – this technology is a push in that direction.”

South Africa is intrinsically a semi-arid country, with available water resources divided among different sectors. This technology is therefore a means of minimising water use in the mining industry in particular. Major coal-mining companies have expressed interest in the TDS, and Aury Africa is in subsequent discussion with these companies to adopt the technology locally.

Parkhouse mentions that, in August last year, seven TDS systems had either been commissioned, or contracts had been signed. Currently, 46 systems are either operational, being commissioned, or contracts signed. “The growth has been exponential, owing to its successes in the field,” he adds.

Aury Africa is considering different applications for the TDS in the complete mineral beneficiation chain. For example, a four tonne sample from a manganese mine in the Northern Cape was sent to Tianjin in China in July for separation trials using the TDS.

“Aury Africa invites interested mining companies to submit their mineral samples to Tianjin to be trialled on the TDS, until such time as the equipment available in South Africa,” Sturgeon highlights. The mineral and reject material must be trialled to differentiate X-ray absorption rates. The computer software is programmed by the development of algorithms during the trialling period, after which the equipment is set up accordingly.

“Aury Africa invites mining partners across the commodity spectrum to see how the TDS can improve yield and quality at their mines, and ultimately reduce operating and maintenance costs. The company is open to procure units for clients in South Africa to trial at their mines, and to show them the benefits of the TDS system,” Wills concludes.

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