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Course Outline


What is Coal? Download Course Brochure
  • Coal types from – peat to anthracite
  • Coal quality – chemical and physical properties
  • What is the difference between hard coking coal and soft coking coal?

How is coal formed?

  • Coal basins and geological time
  • Depth of burial
  • Tectonic forces and its influence on coal quality

Coal basins around the world

  • Worldwide distribution of coal
  • Sea borne trade in coal

History of coal in Australia

  • Discovery at Newcastle in 1791
  • Reviewing coal developments in each state

How is coal used?

  • The basic areas – power generation, steel industry, metallurgical and cement industries
  • Steam generation – heat from burning to create steam to drive turbines and create electricity
  • Coke manufacture – chemical and physical properties of coal to go into coke ovens.
Coke then used in blast furnaces
  • Injected in powder form into blast furnaces – Pulverised Coal Injection (PCI coal)
  • Metallurgical processes – roasting/sintering/pelletising of ores
  • Cement and lime mills – conversion of limestone through heat and chemical processes
  • Water filtration – sized anthracite

Coal consumers and sales contracts

  • Thermal coal – domestic contracts
  • Thermal coal – export contracts – Japan
  • Thermal coal – export contracts – other countries
  • PCI Coal – export contracts
  • Semihard coking coal – export contracts
  • Hard coking coal – export contracts

Coal, government and the community

  • Introduction
  • Coal ownership and royalties
  • State governments and legislation
  • Community involvement in coal mining
  • Shift systems and the impact on the community
  • Land ownership

Skills, productivity, and workforce issues

  • Productivity changes
  • Leadership gaps
  • Demographic trends and competition for skills

Coal exploration

  • Scout exploration
  • Defining the target
  • Open cut exploration
  • Underground exploration

Mine development from exploration to commissioning

  • Exploration program
  • Development sequence and timetable
  • Project definition statement
  • Prefeasibility study
  • Bankable feasibility study
  • Financing of construction
  • Construction
  • Commissioning
  • Financial completion tests

Mining methods and practice

  • Open cut
    • Including blasting and overburden management
    • Dragline operation and limitation
  • Underground
    • Longwall operation
    • Top coal caving
    • Continuous mining operation

Coal handling and preparation processes

  • Washing, crushing and sizing
  • Water only coal preparation
  • Dense media coal separation
  • Froth filtration for fines recovery

Quality control from exploration to end user

  • Quality parameters to be collected (coking/thermal)
  • Setting the timetable for testing (time is the enemy)
  • Selecting a laboratory
  • Quality data transition from exploration to contract
  • Sampling along the coal chain
  • Quality in use

What is the coal chain?

  • Why call it a chain?
  • Sampling along the chain
  • Shipment confirmation
  • Mine site storage
  • Transport modes
  • Port/rail confirmation
  • Train loading
  • Train operations
  • Shipping terminal storage
  • Shipping terminal reclaim
  • Ship loading
  • Sea voyage – the hazards
  • Unloading at customer
  • Storage at plant site
  • Coal in use – time and value

Infrastructure – take or pay – water, rail and port

  • Basic infrastructure – roads and power
  • Water for coal preparation
  • Rail facilities – above and below track
  • Port facilities – storage and throughput capacity

Coal and the environment – Clean Coal/CCS

  • Mine site environmental issues
  • Methane collection – flaring/power generation
  • Clean coal systems eg. IGCC
  • Carbon Capture and Sequestration
  • E missions Trading System

Australian coal industry structure

  • Jockey club/horse racing industry analogy
  • Major players – BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Peabody and AngloCoal
  • Medium size companies – eg. Macarthur Coal, Centennial Coal, Felix Resources, Whitehaven, Wesfarmers, Vale
  • One or two mine companies – eg. Gloucester Coal

Management and operating structures

  • Owner operated
  • Owner/contractor
  • Full service contractor

Continuing change in the coal industry

The only constant thing is change
  • New coal use technologies
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • New and emerging players
    • Bloomfield Group, Aquila, Q Coal (Sonoma), NRE, Austar, Invincible, Cockatoo Coal (Baralaba Coal), Idemitsu (Muswellbrook Coal)
    • Aspirant companies eg. Shenhua
    • Junior explorers eg. Comet Coal and Coke
    • Trading houses etc

Lessons from mining disasters

  • Mining is inherently risky
  • The lessons to be learned for managers and stakeholders

Questions on coal you always wanted to ask

This is the chance to ask questions that you were too afraid to in case of a negative reaction. The presenters are here to help and you are amongst equals who are also seeking knowledge.

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