Re-Jigging Improves New Water-Based Cleaning Method for Treating Steelmaking Coal

Vancouver, BC - February 12, 2019 -Geoscience BC released a report today that further refines a new method for cleaning steelmaking coal before coke quality assessment.

The re-jigged 'Roben Jig' method eliminates dangerous organic chemicals and uses water and a simple shaking process to produce coal samples of comparable quality to traditional methods at reduced risk for laboratory operators and cost.

Steelmaking coal from mine deposits in British Columbia contains ash which must be removed to produce a clean sample for accurate coal and coke quality characterization. Geoscience BC provided funding to the Canadian Carbonization Research Association (CCRA) to revolutionize this vital step in the analysis process and for accurately assessing the economic value of a project.

CCRA's Melanie Mackay, lead author of Producing Clean Coal from Western Canadian Coal Fields using the Water-based Roben Jig: Refining the Process, said: "In the first phase of the Roben Jig project, we successfully produced clean coal samples like those produced by the traditional float-and-sink method but without using dangerous organic liquids. In this second phase, we refined the process by re-jigging the samples and jigging different size fractions to produce coal samples of higher quality."

Three different methods were evaluated on raw and clean coal samples from a single coal seam, allowing the traditional and new methodologies to be accurately compared to an industrial coal processing plant. Method A involved rejigging the clean coal fraction recovered from the Roben Jig. Method B involved segregating the raw coal into two coarse fractions and using the float-and-sink method (with a different floatation chemical) and method C segregated raw coal into two coarse fractions which was washed using the Roben Jig.

In all cases, the Roben Jig was able to produce a clean-coal sample similar to that from the industrial coal-washing plant.

"Coal mining supports a number of BC communities and coal is BC's largest export commodity, valued at an estimated $6.31 billion in 2018. Effectively using a Roben Jig will benefit the coal sector by providing a cost effective, practical technique for coal cleaning. This will also benefit the province by providing a more accurate valuation of its coal resources. It will also reduce the exposure of laboratory operators to carcinogenic organic liquids," said Bruce Madu, Vice President, Minerals and Mining at Geoscience BC. "It is a great example of how the best innovation is often simple."

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