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AO Vorkutaugol, one of Russia’s largest coal mining companies, a subsidiary of Severstal, has successfully completed an experiment at Pechorskaya Concentrating Mill to improve the quality of its coal concentrate. The improved finished product is already being shipped to Cherepovets Steel Mill (CherMK). The potential financial benefit of this project is estimated at 1 billion roubles per year.
The project to reduce the ash content in coal concentrate was launched by the Mill’s expert team in April. Their objective was to reduce the content of phosphorus and sulfur, components that adversely affect the quality of the coal. This was achieved by upgrading the Mill’s equipment and treatment methods.
The tests were run on two grades of coal concentrate – 2Zh and GZhO. The tests achieved an 8% reduction in the ash content of both grades. Notably, it was found that there was a lower rate of extraction from coal concentrate with lower sulfur and phosphorus content than from the same volume of rock with a higher content of these chemicals. However, this will be compensated for by the higher overall quality of the concentrate.
Irina Suvorova, Director of Pechorskaya Concentrating Mill, commented:
“Vorkutaugol will now be able to replace between 10 and 20% of the concentrate that Cherepovets Steel Mill previously purchased from other companies. The Concentrating Mill’s shipments of GZhO coal concentrate have now tripled, to 60 kt per month, and the quality of our 2Zh concentrate has improved.”
Reducing the ash content of the concentrate also positively impacts the quality of coke extracted from coal, meaning less coke is required for iron smelting. Using lower impurity coal concentrate in steel production improves the strength of the steel and reduces the cost of production.