The $2 million project at Elga’s seasonal washing facility includes two membrane filter presses produced by Tecnicas Hidraulicas that will enable the complex to filter slime waters under pressure and make intensive mechanical dewatering of small coal fractions.

Officials project the technology will boost the seasonal plant’s end-product capacity by 10% from 2 million metric tons (mt) to 2.3 million-mt annually and reduce the facility’s consumption of process water by 2.5-3 times.

The plant will also now be able to loop its ultrafine coal and clarified water system and fully exclude the possibility of waste waters getting into external hydraulic facilities, in compliance with ecological safety requirements as set in the Russian environment protection law.

Currently, work is still ongoing to transfer the seasonality of the Elga plant to an all-year operation mode; Mechel said the works are scheduled to be completed in October or November. When complete, the plant will be able to reach an estimated 2.7 million-mt annual capacity.

Mechel Chief Executive Officer Oleg Korzhov said, “Construction of Elga Coal Complex’s facilities is being conducted exclusively with the use of state-of-the-art technologies that will enable us to make the Elga project one of global leaders by its cost efficiency and profit.”

“We make maximum effort to increase the quality of our coal products, which is, in our conviction, the project’s trademark.”

Elga, which has been in production since 2011, is one of the world’s largest deposits of high-quality coking coal; its JORC reserves total about 2.2 billion-mt.