Accurate sampling of product is providing coal mining operations with a distinct advantage. By creating a clear understanding of what raw material quality is being supplied, process managers will achieve an early indication of the final product grade and yields that can be anticipated. Willem Slabbert, Applications and Process Manager at Multotec, says that with accurate and unbiased information, better optimisation decisions can be made regarding how the ore is best beneficiated, and whether a high yield intermediate middling, or high quality final product with lower yield will be produced.“A composite sample will provide a result that is fully representative of the quality of the whole, whether done on a two hourly daily plant production or batch sample. It is also an important facet of a coal operation to allay concerns that out-of specification coal is being supplied. Correct sampling designs facilitate this process by providing the opportunity of achieving the capture of accurate and precise data of the relevant product,” he continues.Rolf Steinhaus, Sampling Specialist at Multotec, says that Multotec has always participated actively in applying sampling best practice and ISO standards in the coal industry, and among other commodities including iron ore, base metals, gold, platinum, heavy mineral sands and manganese. “Our primary focus is on providing reliable and accurate sampling solutions that can be validated by a 3rd party. There is a solid footprint of operational sampling plants and individual sampling machines Multotec can refer to throughout the South African coal mining industry,” says Steinhaus.This in-depth expertise and experience enables Multotec to engineer fit-for-purpose sampling plants capable of achieving successful results. Multotec says its ongoing investment into research and development, in conjunction with its licensor Siebtechnik GmbH in Germany, “has played a major role in positioning Multotec coal sampling technology as one of the most credible in the industry today.” Typical coal sampling applications include plant feed (raw coal), product low ash or middling coal, discard streams and contractual sampling stations. A sampling plant in the coal sector would generally include a primary cross belt or cross stream sampler, sub-divisions of the primary increment after crushing, and increment splitting to ergonomic composite sizes to provide separate physical and chemical samples, the latter often in triplicate.“Multotec sampling solutions can be adapted to accommodate the different maintenance and control strategies of individual customers, extending from supplying a single sampling machine through to supplying full sampling systems,” says Steinhaus. Multotec’s skilled technical maintenance crews support its primary samplers and sampling plants in the field by undertaking regular sampling audits or inspections to verify that the sampling is performed in accordance with the widely recognised ISO 13909 mechanical coal sampling standards (or similar internationally recognised norms ) and application parameters. In recent years, Multotec has engineered and supplied close to 15 sampling stations to both large and small suppliers in the local coal industry as well as many more individual primary samplers throughout industry including some at the large coal export terminal, RBCT in Richards Bay, KwaZulu Natal.