Bulk Chemical Handling System Development


During the last 12 months, Wilson Mining Services (WMS) has been developing a bulk chemical handling system as a step-change improvement to handling chemicals in underground coal mines.

Traditionally the chemicals used for roof fall recovery and the stabilisation of mine strata are supplied in 20 litre drums. These drums are taken underground in bulk handler pods and operators tip these drums into hoppers that feed chemical into the pumps that are used to inject the chemical into mine voids or broken strata. Several hundred drums can be used on each application which is a major logistical and manual handling exercise.

The bulk chemical handling system has been developed by WMS in conjunction with the chemical supplier Weber Mining. The chemical will now be supplied in 1000 litre intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). Bulk handler pods have been designed to transport up to 3 x IBCs instead of 120 x 20 litre drums. Ancillary equipment has been sourced and tested to mix and transfer the chemical directly into hoppers.

 

  

Key benefits of the system are:

• No drum handling – reduced labour requirement, less heat stress for operators
• Improved ratio control – counters are used instead of drum counts
• Improved logistics – 37.5% more chemical in each bulk handler
• Closed system – no spills or splashes of chemical, reduced risk of chemical exposure and atmospheric contaminants
• Improved waste management – instead of empty drums that are crushed and disposed of, the IBCs are recycled

The system was successfully used to fill a roadway cavity at Centennial Coal’s Newstan mine in October 2018. Highlights were:

• Just 2 x IBC bulk handler pods were required instead of 3 x standard pods.
• Over 130 x 20 litre drums were avoided and no drum tipping was required.
• The operation of all equipment including mixers, pumps and counters was verified.
• New safe operating procedures and reports were implemented.
• No atmospheric contaminants were detected.
• Very positive feedback from both WMS operators and mine staff.

  

The Newstan cavity fill job validated the system in the underground mine environment and supported WMS Board approval to purchase equipment for three complete bulk chemical handling systems. In December 2018, the first system was deployed to our Mackay office in Queensland to conduct training. It will then be available for use at coal mines in the Bowen Basin area.

A further two systems are currently on order and will be available for deployment at coal mines in New South Wales and Queensland from early 2019. These three systems will be used primarily for longwall roof fall recovery using ROCSIL ® FOAM which is widely recognised as the industry’s leading cavity fill product. WMS’s goal is to implement bulk handling systems for all chemicals, including Marithan ® polyurethane (PUR) and Fenoflex ® phenolic resin.

For further information on the company’s activities, products and services please contact:
Mitcham Ostle – Director Marketing and Sales
Email: mitcham.ostle@wilsonmining.com.au
Mob: 0417 224 852