The Asia Miner

JAN-FEB 2017

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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VDMA 52 VDMA MINING SUPPLEMENT • 2017 Arie-Johann Heiertz, sales manager, mining, RWE TI. "We draw on the extensive operation and engineering knowledge as well as the practical experience of our mother company RWE." RWE operates five coal operations, mining 120 million metric tons (mt) of lignite and moving 900 million mt of overburden. In total, the company operates and maintains more than 230 km of conveyor systems. Even though RWE's equipment mines coal in a highly energy-ef- ficient and cost-effective manner, it is still susceptible to heavy wear and tear. The mining equipment operates 24/7, deals with abrasive materials and is exposed to all kinds of weather. It is continually main- tained to ensure minimal downtime. More recently, RWE collaborated with IBM to develop an award-winning analytics driven app to ensure that the maintenance procedures of complex, large equipment and assets are adequately performed. Asset Care will be the first in a suite of apps that RWE and IBM will jointly develop and deploy to RWE's field forces using iPads to improve maintenance efficiency for mining operations. "Efficiency is a key interest when it comes to operation and main- tenance of our heavy equipment," Heiertz said. "The new tool gives RWE's employees real-time access to constantly monitor the equip- ment and to forecast situations more precisely when a machine might be running into an unplanned outage." The Asset Care App running on an iPad mini will actively sup- port RWE's maintenance engineers, technicians and craftsmen by proposing the specific maintenance tasks previously determined to prevent outage or damage. Currently, all expert crews must complete forms to initiate and keep record of the maintenance jobs required. The handwritten information is then transcribed to a traditional plant maintenance software system. "Asset Care eliminates this manual process by streamlining tasks and allowing field workers to instantly capture repair information in the app, including image and video files, so they can easily identify equipment issues and complete tasks more efficiently and safely," Heiertz said. Field technicians are equipped with mobile access to real-time updates of manuals, maintenance and operational history, and also GPS-based location systems for monitoring and tracking of equipment and field workers, resulting in a reduction in equipment downtime and cost of maintenance. Both IBM and RWE have identified that Asset Care is an in- dustry solution that could support the transformation of how mainte- nance operations are delivered in industries with large and complex assets. Maximizing Coal Recovery Most coal operations measure the particle size distribution (PSD) of the plant feed to determine the suitability of the feed for their process. Fine coal can present a problem and understanding the origin is help- ful, but few mines measure the PSD. Comparing that information with the plant feed data, the mine could optimize the processes in between the face and the plant to reduce the fines in the run-of-mine (ROM) coal, which could generate savings and benefits, such as: • Reducing the costs associated with fines recovery; • Decreasing the load on the tailings storage facility; • Complying with customer specifications; • Reducing coal dust and its associated problems; and • Decreasing the moisture the fines retain. Coal breakage occurs throughout the production process and generally the amount of breakage behavior depends on the geology and how the coal is mined and handled. Wirtgen recently per- formed several large-scale field tests on material degradation and found that surface miners offer surprising advantages when it comes to coal fines generation. The Asset Care App running on an iPad mini supports maintenance engineers. A Wirtgen surface miner is a crawler-mounted mining machine with a rotating cutting drum and a slewing system for loading trucks or windrowing product. The cutter drum is located near the machine's center of gravity, which transforms the machine's full weight into rock penetrating force. The machine can cut layer by individual layer. The cutting depth can vary with the seam thickness. Even seams as thin as 10 cm can be mined and precisely separated from interburden. This is a selective, cost-effective form of surface mining that does not involve drilling and blasting. In recent years, Wirtgen has conducted several large-scale field tests on PSD and material degradation. Coal and sedimentary ore from eight different pits were analyzed to obtain PSD. Almost 8,000 metric tons (mt) of material were screened to compare the material produced by surface miners and conventional mining methods. In one coal mine, Wirtgen surface miners operate alongside doz- ers that employ the conventional rip-and-stack method. In view of the current coal prices, the mine was optimizing every step of the operation. This included optimizing the process for target size ma- terial, enabling most of the material to be processed in the cheaper coarse circuit of the processing plant. They also were keen on reduc- ing crushing costs. The surface miner delivered coal with a lower percentage of fines and more target size material than the conventional dozer rip-and- stack method. In fact, out of the 1,500 mt/h of coal delivered from the dozer to the processing plant, 225 tph are fines (less than 2 mm). With the surface miner, the fines amounted to 185 mt/h, 22% less coal was washed in the fines circuit. Looking at the ultra fine material (less than 1 mm), the plant sees 33% less of that size fraction when working with surface miner coal. The surface miner delivered more than 70% target size coal (2 mm-40 mm), while the dozer ranges at less than 58%. Additionally, savings are generated in the crushing stage: only 17% of the material coming from the surface miner needs to be crushed, as opposed to more than 26% when processing ripped coal. Another trial location was a sedimentary ore deposit that is mined using surface miners vs. a conventional drill-and-blast meth- od. There, the surface miner continually produced feed material with

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