South African firm, Dowding, Reynard and Associates has begun its move into China, with the award of a contract for the design and construction of a 300tph plant for XinWen, near Jinan in the Shandong Province. The plant will be used to treat a blend of coking coal for local consumption.

DRA is a world leader in coal processing plants and in September 2003, following a GEDA (Gauteng Economic Development Association) presentation, a delegation from China expressed interest in the company’s technical expertise in this field. The Chinese company was experiencing problems with difficult-to-wash coal and was keen to learn more about DRA’s ability in the field of coal preparation plant design. The companies signed an agreement of intent in October and extensive testwork began.

A sampling program was set-up and coal type, tonnage and plant requirements were assessed taking into consideration harsh winter temperatures of -20C˚. Test results were promised by the end of the year, only 3 weeks after DRA issued the extensive testwork program. DRA were understandably sceptical.

The Client employed 60 analysts to work over the Christmas period and the results were delivered as promised. DRA duly completed the design and the definitive cost estimate was developed, equally impressively to the Chinese, on time. Extensive negotiations followed. Mutually acceptable terms of finance were finally agreed upon, and DRA commenced procurement of long lead items, detailed design and fabrication of this turn-key project in June 2003. Due to the remote location of the mine, ease of maintenance was a major consideration in plant design and layout. To facilitate erection, the main housing with insulated sheeting was the first to be erected, followed by the various process portions of the internal plant which is modular in format. This system gave the construction crews protection from the winter elements.

As the laydown area on site in China was small, it was decided to stagger shipments and limit the number of consignments to four. The logistics of manufacturing and sending correct loads at the right time became a project on its own. Shipping of 70 containers was staggered over a three month period with the last arriving on site in mid December 2004.

Chinese construction crews erected this ex-works project under the supervision of DRA site personnel. Structural steel and platework erection conducted earlier this year, took longer than anticipated and as the climate reached its harshest, with piping and electrics following shortly thereafter. Plant control and instrumentation of this sophisticated plant were conducted by DRA, and included tying in to a local front-end operation-fortunately the SCADA software package employed supports the Chinese language! Commissioning by DRA, was enthusiastically supported by the local operators once their respect was won, and took place very smoothly.

Clive Hart, Director for DRA says, “Our team has shown tremendous commitment in often very trying times, and have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges that come with working in a new environment, including picking up scorpions with chopsticks! We never expected the negotiations and the project to be easy, but are never-the-less delighted to be part of China’s vibrant growth.”

DRA’s coal washing plants:

  • Are simple to operate and maintain
  • Use current, proven technology
  • Employ practical automation
  • Are flexible in design, with expandable modules
  • Offer high availability and low operating cost
  • Offer high metallurgical efficiency
  • Are low in electricity, water and magnetite consumption

In the past four years the company has exported and commissioned processing plants in North America, Canada, Indonesia, Ukraine, Australia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia.