As many as 500 to 700 coal processing professionals will gather at CoalProTec 2024.

CPSA to hosts its bi-annual meeting in conjunction with the SME/CAS

By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief

The Coal Prep Society of America (CPSA) will hold its bi-annual Coal Processing and Technology Conference & Exhibition (CoalProTec) at the Central Bank Center in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, April 29-May 1, 2024. All-in-all as many as 500 to 700 coal processing professionals will likely gather at this event, which is all about combining educational value with a networking experience that allows these delegates to meet the leading suppliers of coal processing equipment and technology.

The conference kicks off on Tuesday, April 30, with a keynote address from Randall Atkins, CEO, Ramaco Resources at 9:00 a.m. He will talk about operating metallurgical coal mines in the eastern U.S. and a Wyoming coal operation that now has the potential to be a major supplier of rare earth elements (REE). Ramaco has also received research-based patents on critical materials from coal-to-carbon products. The day before CoalProTec starts (Monday, April 29, 2024), the CPSA will host two educational workshops, Efficient Magnetite Utilization and Recovery and Screen Application, Operation and Maintenance.

“We’re looking forward to another great CoalProTec and we are really excited that Randall Atkins could carve time out of his schedule to speak at the conference,” said Mel Laurila, executive director, CPSA. “The technical program also offers an interesting line-up of speakers with a healthy level of participation from coal operators. Those speakers will discuss recent plant improvements and new equipment that has been tested at the plant level.”

The first Coal ProTec technical session on Tuesday (April 30, 2024) has four presentations that focus on Plant Operations and Modifications. Dan Yanchak, prep plant manager at CONSOL Energy’s Bailey prep plant will provide an overview of the operation, which has an 8,200 tph raw feed capacity. It is a juggernaut considering the average processing plant in the U.S. has a raw feed capacity of 450 tph. He will present, Lessons Learned from a 40 Year Career in Coal Preparation, where he will share valuable insights based on running America’s largest and safest coal preparation plant.

During the second presentation, Mach Supercharger Upgrade, Dylan Connel will talk about an interesting technology upgrade for Foresight Energy’s plant that processes coal for a high-capacity longwall operation in central Illinois. A few years ago, Robindale Energy upgraded its plant in western Pennsylvania. Jon Bobbers will discuss the company’s experience with filter press operations at the plant. The session closes with presentations on the use of reagents and the flow of solids in material handling applications.

On Wednesday morning, at 9:00 a.m., Session 2, Rare Earth Elements and Critical Material Derived From Coal-Based Materials, has four presentations talking about recovery and uses of coal beyond power generation and steelmaking.  Dr. Barbara Arnold, Penn State, will talk about current developments in her presentation, Coal to Carbon Research. During the second presentation, CFOAM Carbon Produced by CONSOL Energy, Dr. Rudy Olsen will talk about the company’s experience with coal-based materials. The session closes with a presentation from Dr. Rick Honaker on REE and Critical Materials and Tony Toney will talk about unconventional dewatering techniques.

The third (final) session on Wednesday afternoon (May 1) at 2:00 p.m., Innovative Coal Cleaning Methods and Technologies, has five presentations. The first presentation is Plant Assessment of a Low-Density Cut-point Concentrator by John Nielson with Arch Resources. He will discuss operations at the Leer processing plant, which has a raw feed capacity of 1,440 tph and it produces a premium metallurgical product. The other presentations include topical subjects like the FLSmidth REFLUX Classifier, ultra-fine dewatering from Somerset International, and a report on washability studies from Penn State’s Dr. Arnold.

The Central Appalachian Section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (CAS/SME) will cohost its annual meeting with CoalProTec 2024. CAS/SME will offer concurrent sessions. On Tuesday afternoon, they will offer updates on various projects. On Wednesday morning the discussion turns to geotechnical and safety-related topics in mining. The CAS/SME program will conclude Wednesday afternoon with a session that covers environmental and ethical issues with REE and critical minerals.

More than 80 suppliers will participate in the exhibition, which opens after the keynote address on Tuesday (10:00 a.m.) and closes at 5:00 p.m. It reopens at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday and runs until 2:00 p.m. Lunch will be served on the show floor both days and it is included as part of the registration fees.

“Elgin and FLSmidth are sponsoring the lunches and we’re grateful for their contribution,” Laurila said. “During lunch on Tuesday, the CPSA will hold its annual members meeting, and all of the delegates are members because it’s included in their registration. They will learn firsthand what the society has planned to continue the advancement of education and training for coal preparation.”

After the show closes on Tuesday, the CPSA will host its Member’s Night Out, starting at 6:00 p.m. at Club C. The event, which is sponsored by Conn-Weld and Polydeck, begins with a bourbon tasting, followed by a buffet dinner and entertainment. Mentalist Josh Fletcher will use a wide variety of tools to determine what a person is thinking and influence their decisions in a fun, memorable way. “This is a ticketed event, and it will sell out, so those that want to participate should register as soon as possible,” Laurila said.

The CPSA will also distribute the second edition of its Mr. Prep training manual. “It has 320 pages of information assembled as a reference guide with an index,” Laurila said.