Management of coal stockpiles, CCC/23

Author(s): Anne Carpenter

Ref: CCC/23
ISBN: 92-9029-330-0
Published Date: 01/10/1999
No. of Tables: 8
No. of Figures: 41
No. of Pages: 65

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Stockpile management is an important part of the coal handling process from mine to customer. Virtually all coal producers and consumers make use of stockpiles at their facilities, either to serve as a buffer between material delivery and processing, acting as a strategic stock against supply interruptions; or to enable coal blending to meet quality requirements. With mounting pressure to minimise the capital tied up in stockpiles, there is a need to optimise coal inventories. Factors such as stockpile size, turnover period, timely stock management, and the ability to take advantage of cheaper coals have all assumed greater importance. This report begins by examining why stockpiles are employed. The stacking and reclaiming of piles, and the reduction of noise arising from the handling equipment is then discussed, along with stockpile automation and management. Good sampling and analysis procedures are essential for coal quality management. Sampling systems, representative samples and on-line analysis are described. Stock auditing to reconcile the amount of coal in the stockpiles is also covered. Most coals, particularly those of lower rank, are susceptible to weathering and atmospheric oxidation during storage in open-air piles. Properties and processes affected by coal oxidation and weathering, including heating value losses, handleability, cleaning, combustion and coking are examined. Spontaneous combustion poses safety, environmental, economic and handling problems if it becomes established in stockpiles. Factors affecting spontaneous combustion are discussed with the emphasis on prevention, detection and control. Stockyard operators are under constant social and political pressures to improve the environmental acceptability of their operations. The control, prevention and monitoring of fugitive dust emissions, and the composition, collection and treatment of stockpile runoff are addressed. The prevention and control of flowslides is also covered. Experience has shown that with good stockpile design and management, most coals can be safely stored in an environmentally acceptable way.

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