Coal Age

MAR 2019

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20 March 2019 coal preparation Boom-less Recovery Means Darwinian Struggle for Some Durable and proven plug-and-play solutions see demand as met coal miners want better productivity, but without construction by jesse morton, technical writer On a good day, experts will tell you the coal prep solutions and plant construction space is in the midst of something of a recovery. On a bad day, they'll tell you business is still so low that suppliers who don't adapt won't survive. Jack Hopwood, sales director, energy minerals, FLSmidth, framed his assessment of the recovery with terms used by the others that spoke with Coal Age. "It is not a boom sit- uation," he said. "It is, however, very comfortable and robust." Dennis Phillips, president, Raw Resources Group, agreed. "One way I look at it is the coal space is actually healthy, it just won't be back to the boom times we've seen in the past," he said. "It is just healthy at a much lower level than in the past." John Trygstad, manager, coal and mineral processing, Stantec Corp., said the opportunities available are now largely limited to the met coal space. "We're not seeing anything new of any significance for washing coal for ther- mal power plants, not in this country at least," he said. "The work Stantec is involved with now and what we are seeing is there is still a need for wash- ing and processing metallurgical coal." Hopwood reported seeing similar trends. "We're seeing the companies with metallurgical-grade coal re- serves are much more active than are the steam coal operations as far as ex- panding, trying to expand, and trying to get more capacity," Hopwood said. "We are seeing a nice uptick in after- market sales of parts for the existing equipment and also some people are replacing old equipment with new because it was worn out." Phillips said Raw Resources, which primarily serves the American market, is experiencing the same. "We're seeing some expansion plans," Phillips said. "Because there are sev- eral operations throttled back or shut down, the potential growth seems to be getting absorbed by just expand- ing existing or restarting old ones. For the most part, there are a few poten- tial contracts, but a lot of that is peo- ple just kicking the tires." Stantec, with global reach, is see- ing opportunities both inside and outside the U.S. at both established and newer mines, Trygstad said. "First, what we are seeing is we are seeing a renewal of metallurgical coal processing projects, both new greenfield projects as well as brown- field. Now that the market has set- tled down a little bit, many are back to tuning up or retrofitting existing wash plants for better recoveries and that sort of thing," he said. Other miners that are "confident enough in the market say, let's go back in our given coal preps that we might already own and ask what can we do to make it better, what can we do to improve recoveries?" Stantec was recently tapped to build the JORC report for Erdenes Ta- van Tolgoi (ETT) in Mongolia. "What's happening is the government has man- dated they do an IPO," Trygstad said. The company will confirm the re- serves, the resources and the expect- ed yields. "There will be an element looking at the coal preparation side of it, which is somewhat easy for us be- cause we designed the prep plant for them a few years ago," Trygstad said. "We'll also go back and reconfirm Above, Mongolia's Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi reports earlier this year it broke ground at the Erdenesians site in the mine, located in the Gobi desert. Stantec will build the JORC report for the company's IPO in Hong Kong later this year. (Photo: ETT)

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