Coal Beneficiation

Coal Beneficiation 2020-10-13T12:30:15+00:00

Coal Beneficiation

Coal beneficiation, or coal preparation as it is also termed, is the processes through which inorganic impurities are separated from raw mined coal to providing improved combustion characteristics to the fuel produced.

Parnaby Cyclones with over 50 years of experience is a key partner in maximizing the efficiency of coal beneficiation and coal preparation.

Our Parnaby Systems have been developed specifically for the washing and separation of different grades of coal, the recovery of fine coal particles, and the treatment and disposal of effluent.

Coal Beneficiation, Washing and separation of coal improves its saleability. The end product has:

  • higher calorific value
  • lower ash content
  • potentially lower sulphur content

There are two main systems for the beneficiation, or coal preparation. The first uses a natural medium (water and raw material) and secondly a dense medium (with magnetite added).

Coal Preparation

Natural Medium Washing Plant

The natural medium washing plant is the most cost-effective coal preparation method of processing easily separated coals, in particular run of mine coal for industrial use, and
recovering coal from colliery waste.


The plant uses four types of separating

  • Barrel
  • Cyclone
  • Dewatering Screens
  • Sieve Bends

Processing and Treatment Flow Diagram – Natural Medium Washing Plant

Coal Beneficiation


coal preparation

Natural Medium Cyclone

Cyclone-only plants can be supplied for washing small coal below 50mm particle size.

In the cyclone, the small particles are separated by centrifugal and vortex action (the cyclone itself does not move). The water/particle mixture is pumped into the side of the cyclone tangentially and swirls around creating a vortex in which the lighter coal particles are sucked to the middle (and out to a dewatering screen).

The heavier shale particles are thrown by centrifugal force to the wall of the cyclone and are discharged at the opposite end.


Dense Medium Washing Plant

The dense medium washing plant is the most efficient separation process available. It is ideally suited for:

  • Separation of difficult coal types
  • Washing and production of high value products for domestic and industrial markets


coal improvement process


The overall process differs from the natural medium plant because the medium is created using magnetite(fine iron particles) instead of the fine particles in the raw material. This allows for more exacting control and a wider range of separation gravities.

Small and fine particles are removed from the raw material before it is fed into the drum. Initially it passes over a dry screen to remove particles smaller than 10mm, then any remaining fine particles/slimes (smaller than 3.0mm) are removed by a vibratory rinsing and dewatering screen. The small particles are then separated in a classifying cyclone.

Alternatively the fine particles can be separated in a fines recovery plant.

coal beficiation and separation


The Parnaby dense medium coal beneficiation plant can efficiently separate raw material from a wide range of proportions. Other benefits include:

  • 2 OR 3 Product Separator Drum
  • Low Power Requirement
  • High Efficiency Process Separation
  • Low Magnetite Consumption
  • Robust Modular Design
  • Quick to Assemble, Easy to Move
  • Can Easily be Enclosed in a Building
  • Extensive Product Range
  • Single Drum Capacity up to 250TPH


A three product separator drum is also available which has a second chamber which repeats the process (at a higher separation gravity) thus producing prime coal, middling’s and shale.
One combined cyclone and dense medium drum plant can process up to 500 tph of coal up to 200mm particle size.
Dense medium cyclone- only plants can be supplied for washing small coal below 50mm particle size.


coal preparation and beneficiation

Fines Coal Recovery Unit

The Natural and Dense Medium Washing Plants can recover coal as small as 0.5mm particle size. Smaller particles pass through the screens and drain to the effluent sump.
We have developed a range of fines coal recovery plants to treat the overflow from the washing plant before it goes for effluent treatment. These plants can recover and dewater coal particles down to zero particle size.
There are four types of fines coal recovery plants available:

  • Water-only cyclone
  • Hydrosizer
  • Gravity Spiral
  • Froth Flotation Process

Click here for details of our coal preparation equipment