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Mobile Drill – Supervising coal exploration projects

For the past 6+ years, I have supervised numerous projects that involved planning exploration and supervision of drilling. For most of the coal projects, it is very important to prepare accurate geologic, geotech and fracture (RQD) logs; take photographs of the core and perform depth correction to the geophysical log if available.

I have seen so many different kinds of drills with different capacity. Some of the old core drills still does not have a wireline component. They are slow. Most of the newer drills are equipped with the core barrel attached to the wire line where you do not need to pull up entire drill rods to recover the core.

I have recently been to site that has a pretty new mobile drill. The drill is manufactured by Mobile Drill International. Visit http://www.mobiledrill.net/ for more information about their products.

Ankan Basu, P.G.

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Coal Classification in Australia

Coal is a combustible sedimentary rock formed from ancient vegetation which has been consolidated between other rock strata and transformed by the combined effects of microbial action, pressure and heat over a considerable time period. This process is commonly called ‘coalification’. Coal occurs as layers or seams, ranging in thickness from millimetres to many tens of metres. It is composed mostly of carbon (50–98 per cent), hydrogen (3–13 per cent) and oxygen, and smaller amounts of nitrogen, sulphur and other elements. It also contains water and particles of other inorganic matter. When burnt, coal releases energy as heat which has a variety of uses. Coal is broadly separated into brown and black which have different thermal properties and uses.

Brown coal (lignite) has a low energy and high ash content. Brown coal is unsuitable for export and is used to generate electricity in power stations located at or near the mine.

Black coal is harder than brown coal and has a higher energy content. In Australia anthracite, bituminous and sub-bituminous coals are called black coal whereas in Europe, sub-bituminous coal is referred to as brown coal (table 5.1) .

Thermal (steaming) coal is black coal that is used mainly for generating electricity in power stations where it is pulverised and burnt to heat steam generating boilers.

Metallurgical (coking) coal is black coal that is suitable for making coke, which is used in the production of pig iron. These coals must also have low sulphur and phosphorus contents, and are relatively scarce and attract a higher price than thermal coals.

Coke is a porous solid composed mainly of carbon and ash and is used in blast furnaces that produce iron.

Table 5.1 Coal classification terminology used in Australia and Europe
Coal Rank Australian Terminology European Terminology
Anthracite Black Coal Black Coal
Bituminous Coal Black Coal Black Coal
Sub-bituminous Coal Black Coal Brown Coal
Lignite Brown Coal Brown Coal

Coal reserves are discovered through exploration. Modern coal exploration typically involves extensive use of geophysical surveys, including 3D seismic surveys aimed at providing detailed information on the structures with the potential to affect longwall operations, and drilling to determine coal quality and thickness.


Coal is mined by both surface or ‘opencut’ (or opencast) and underground or ‘deep’ mining methods, depending on the local geology of the deposit. Underground mining currently accounts for about 60 per cent of world coal production but around 80 per cent of Australia’s coal is produced from opencut mines. Opencut mining is only economic when the coal seam(s) is near the sur face. It has the advantage of lower mining costs and it generally recovers a higher proportion of the coal deposit than underground mining, as most seams present are exploited (90 per cent or more of the coal can typically be recovered).

Technological advancements have made coal mining today more productive than it has ever been. Modern large opencut mines can cover many square kilometres in area and commonly use large draglines to remove the overburden and bucket wheel excavators and conveyor belts to transport the coal. Modern equipment and techniques allow opencut mining to around 200m. Many underground coal mines in Australia use longwall mining methods, which enable extraction of most of the coal from a seam using mechanical shearers. The mining ‘face’ can be up to 250m long. Self-advancing, hydraulic powered supports temporarily hold up the roof while the coal is extracted. The roof over the area behind the face, from which the coal has been removed, is then allowed to collapse. Over 75 per cent of the coal in the deposit may be extracted using this method (World Coal Institute 2009).

Source: http://www.ga.gov.au/energy/province-sedimentary-basin-geology/coal-geology.html

India to allow 20 boreholes per sq. km area for coal exploration

New Delhi, Sep 25 (Calcutta Tube) In a bid to increase coal production, the government will soon allow up to 20 boreholes in a square km area for coal exploration from one borehole in 1.5 square km permitted now, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said Friday.

‘Currently we produce around 530 million tones coal and import 67 million tones. To meet the existing shortfall there is urgent need to increase the production by bringing more coal bearing area under mining,’ Jaiswal said at the 3rd Coal Summit.

He said coal ministry was in consultation with forest and environment ministry to allow more boreholes for coal exploration.

Jaiswal expressed hope that forest ministry would give its green signal to the proposal soon that would allow 15-20 boreholes in per square km area without any forestry clearance.

He said major constraints in augmenting coal production were related to land acquisition, forestry and environmental clearances, inadequate evacuation infrastructure in major coalfields and law and order problems, particularly in some states.

‘To deal with the adverse law and order situation around some of the coal projects, the coal ministry has taken up the matter with the ministry of home affairs for augmentation of the present strength of CISF personnel in the coal companies,’ said Jaiswal.

On the government’s efforts to increase coal production, Jaiswal said the production capacities of public sector companies have been increased through new projects.

The government has allocated 208 coal blocks, out of which 26 have commenced the production. The contribution from these blocks is expected around 104 million tones in next five years, coal minister said.

Coal India: Govt must give discount to retail

September 21, 2010, CNBC TV18’s Managing Editor Udayan Mukherjee says Eros International and Microsec will be heavily subscribed. According to him, both the companies will see listing gains. He expects Eros International to see 25% listing gains.

Watch Video.


Coal India Limited failed to renew Coal Mining Permit in Meghalaya

New Delhi, Sep 7 (Coal Geology) Meghalaya has refused to renew a mining lease to the Coal India Limited, leaving the government-run mining enterprise without any work in the state, the coal ministry said Tuesday.

‘In Meghalaya, the only lease held by North Eastern Coalfields Limited (NEC) NEC, a CIL subsidiary, pertained to Simsang mines. But it expired in 2008 and its renewal is yet to be received from the State of Meghalaya,’ said the ministry in a statement.

‘In the absence of renewal of lease, at present no more mines has been planned to be opened by NEC, CIL,’ the statement added.

‘In Meghalaya, coal is being produced only by the local people as per the extant customary and tribal land rights,’ it said.

The ministry made the revelation of Meghalaya’s refusal to renew its mining lease to CIL in a statement on total coal resources in the northeast region.

The statement said ‘as per Geological Survey of India‘s latest inventory of the geological resources of coal in the country, 1,471 million tonnes of geological resources of coal have so far been estimated in the northeast region.’

‘Of this, 388 million tonnes are in Assam and 576 milliion tonnes in Meghalaya,’ the statement said, adding: ‘In Assam three opencast mines – Tirap, Tikak and Ledo are in operation under NEC.’

Five more new open cast mines, including those in Lekhapani, Tikak Extension, Tipong, PQ Block and Lachitkhani are proposed to be opened,’ the statement added.

India’s thermal coal imports have taken the global industry by storm: James O’Connell

Indian Map
Indian Map

LONDON, Aug. 18 (Coal Geology)– Platts, one of the world’s foremost providers of energy and metals information, announced that, on September 1, 2010, it is expanding its suite of thermal coal price assessments to include a daily spot value for thermal coal destined for the Indian marketplace. Thermal coal is used to generate electricity.

The new price assessments, which include freight rates from South Africa to India’s east and west coasts, address the needs of power producers, cement manufacturers, coal traders and ship brokers for an independent source of India-related open-market spot prices.

“India’s thermal coal imports have taken the global industry by storm, changing trade flows radically and thereby increasing the need for expanded and more frequent price information,” said James O’Connell, managing editor of Platts’ Coal Trader International. “We’re pleased to help meet the growing information needs of this important import market and bring greater transparency to the commodity’s and region’s pricing.”

India is the third-largest producer of hard coal, but it is also one of the world’s largest importers. South Africa ranks among the world’s top 10 producers and top 10 exporters of coal. Platts’ new assessments capture price dynamics relating to these important marketplaces.

The assessments will reflect the open-market physical spot value for standard calorific value of 6,300 kilocalories per kilogram (kcal/kg), gross as received (GAR), thermal coal with a maximum ash content of 16% and 1.4% maximum sulfur content. They will be assessed on a cost and freight (CFR) basis delivered to specific ports on the east and west coasts of India.

Alongside the two new price assessments, known as “Platts CFR India,” Platts will publish two corresponding freight rates, as follows:

Platts CFR India East (6,300 kcal/kg): Physical open-market spot assessment of thermal coal (including the cost of freight) out of Richards Bay, South Africa and destined within a 90-day period for east coast ports in India

Platts CFR India West (6,300 kcal/kg): Physical open-market spot assessment of thermal coal (including the cost of freight) out of Richards Bay, South Africa and destined within a 90-day period for west coast ports in India

Platts CFR East Coast India Freight Rate: Assessments for Panamax-sized cargoes from Richards Bay, South Africa, to the ports of Chennai, Ennore, Gangavaram, Haldia, Karaikal, Krishnapatnam, Paradip and Vizag in eastern India

Platts CFR West Coast India Freight Rate: Assessments for Panamax-sized cargoes from Richards Bay, South Africa, to the ports of Kandla, Mumbai, Mornugao, Mundra, New Mangalore, Navlakhi and Pipavav in western India

Assessments are based on all-day market monitoring and data collection of transactions, bids, offers and other information from market participants and reflect values at the close of the physical trading day at 17:00 (5:00 p.m.) London time. Thermal coal deliveries from other destinations meeting the specifications may also be taken into account for the assessment. All prices are quoted as U.S. dollars per metric ton (mt). The assessments will be published in Platts’ Coal Trader International, within Platts’ Dispatch, a flexible-format, end-of-day data service, as well as in the real-time news service Platts’ European Power Alert.

The new assessments are in addition to the daily 90-day forward price assessments that Platts already publishes for thermal coal delivered on a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis to Antwerp/Rotterdam/Amsterdam and on a free-on-board (FOB) basis from coal terminals in South Africa, Australia and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The methodology for Platts’ India-bound thermal coal price assessments was developed in consultation with a cross-section of key industry players, draws on Platts’ century of experience in benchmark price reporting in energy, and is underpinned by robust quality guidelines.

For more information on coal, visit the Platts website at www.platts.com. For Chinese-language information on coal and energy markets, visit http://www.platts.cn/.

About Platts: Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies , is a leading global provider of energy and commodities information. With a century of business experience, Platts serves customers across more than 150 countries. An independent provider, Platts serves the oil, natural gas, electricity, emissions, nuclear power, coal, petrochemical, shipping, and metals markets from 17 offices worldwide. Platts’ real-time news, pricing, analytical services and conferences help markets operate with transparency and efficiency. Traders, risk managers, analysts, and industry leaders depend upon Platts to help them make better trading and investment decisions. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies: Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.


CONTACT: Kathleen Tanzy, +1-212-904-2860, Kathleen_tanzy@platts.com; orNon-U.S. media may contact in Europe: Shiona Ramage,Shiona_Ramage@platts.com, +44207 1766153; or in India, Rohit Varier,rohit@integralpr.com, +9819403110; or in Asia, Casey Yew,Casey_Yew@platts.com, +65 653 06552

Web site: http://www.platts.com/

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal: India needs to import 83 mn tonne coal by 2011-12

Kolkata, Aug 17 (Coal Geology) To meet the rising demand of coal, India will need to import at least 83 million tonnes by 2011-12, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said hererecently.

‘The demand projected in the mid-term appraisal of 11th Plan for 2011-12 is 713 million tonnes against which the projected production is only 629.91 million tonnes. The balance of 83 million tonnes will have to be met by imports,’ he told a seminar by Coal Consumers’ Association of India.

He said the coal production from captive blocks could contribute to about 42 million tonnes against an envisaged target of 81 million tonnes, which would further augment the need to import more coal during 2011-12.

The total coal production was anticipated to be around 570 million tonnes in 2010-11.

‘Total coal trade in the international market is about 800-900 million tonnes. If India has to import more than 100 million tonnes extending to about 250 million tonnes by the end of the 12th Plan, this will seriously affect international trade,’ he said.

Talking about the operationalisation of the coal blocks, he said of the 208 coal blocks allotted, only 26 are operating now.

‘During the formulation of the 11th Plan it was envisaged that about 104 million tonnes of coal would be available from coal blocks, mainly for power generation. With the progress noticed we do not envisage that the production will cross more than 40-42 million tonnes in the terminal year of the 11th Plan. This single factor can account for a shortage of about 60 million tonne,’ Jaiswal said.

He further added the various proposals which have not been cleared by the environment and forests ministry has resulted in a reduction of another 40 million tonnes in the terminal year of the 11th Plan.

‘The government has taken note of this and is intensively engaged in finding an appropriate solution,’ the minister said.