At Yangquan in northern China’s Shanxi province, Continental is using a closed-trough conveyor belt system to ensure the smooth and environmentally friendly extraction of pit coal.
Continental said the closed system minimises dust emissions at operator YanKan Coal’s mining site, as well as being fireproof and offering low rolling resistance, making it particularly energy-efficient. The system, which is one of the longest closed-trough conveyor belt systems in China, covers a distance of 8.1 km.
“For the operators of mining facilities, the fundamental question is which technical solution is the safest, most reliable and cost-effective method of transporting coal and other raw materials from the perspective of climate protection and energy efficiency,” said Stephan Weisgerber from Continental in China.
Conveyor belts have emerged as a financially and environmentally advantageous transport solution within a certain distance compared with alternatives such as truck fleets, since their operation emits less CO2 and there is no need for empty trips. Closed systems such as closed-trough or tube conveyors also offer other decisive benefits, according to Continental.
As well as minimising dust emissions, the transported material itself is well protected against environmental influences such as wind, snow, sun and rain.
“This is done by rolling up the belt,” explained Weisgerber. The outside edges of the belt overlap throughout the entire duration of the transport like a protective casing for the material. Only when taking up and delivering material do the closed-trough belts open up and assume the shape of a conventional conveyor belt.
It is estimated that coal dust emissions caused by gusts of wind, snow and rain amount to 0.12% of transported materials when open conveyor systems are used.
In Yangquan, the Continental tube conveyor, with a width of 1,600 mm and an outer pipe diameter of 458 mm, transports 1,000t of coal per hour and 2.4 Mtpa. “This results is an enormous saving of 2,880t of coal dust emissions per year – and significantly improves air quality. Thus, our system also protects the health of mine workers and improves the quality of life of the people living in the area,” emphasised Weisgerber.
“We decided to use Continental’s closed-trough conveyor belts because they fully meet the relevant requirements with regard to climate protection, safety and efficiency,” said Bi Gui Chen from YanKan Coal.
Continental added that its technology helps meet stringent safety regulations for coal mines that dictate the maximum concentration of dust in the air. This is required not only when it comes to health and air quality, because among the most dreaded accidents in mining are coal dust explosions – a destructive reaction of coal dust with oxygen.
These can occur very quickly when whirled particles of coal dust react with the oxygen in the air due to sparks, heated parts of equipment or similar. “The closed system from Continental is ideal, because no dust can escape. The closed-trough conveyor belts in Yangquan are also flame-retardant, adding another layer of safety,” added Bi Gui Chen.