In response to increasing customer demand for better quality products Celtic Energy took the decision in 1998 to build a new state of the art coal preparation plant at Onllwyn Distribution Centre, capable of processing the production from all its sites. The significant investment required for such a facility was a sign of Celtic Energy’s long term commitment in the Coal Industry. Based on modern Heavy Media separation techniques and computer technology the new plant produces cleaner products far more consistently than ever before.
The plant, based around a Heavy Media Drum Separator for coal greater than 22 mm and Heavy Media cyclones for the small coal, can operate up to 24 hours per day processing up to 26,000 tonnes per week of raw mined production and converting it to top quality anthracite products. The plant produces 5 different sizes of products in each of the 3 different coal qualities, Black Diamond, Group 1 and Welshbrite. Specialist coals with unique size qualities are produced on a batch basis for major customers.
A Froth Flotation Plant was constructed in 2005 as a facility for the recovery of fine coal from the washery slurry, which had until then been treated as a discard. This facility has increased the yield of saleable coal from 86% to 89% of the raw coal input.
Both plant operate a Programmeable Logic Controller (PLC) system which allows for more effective use of the monitoring and control devices enabling the operators to change parameters quickly and efficiently to ensure that product specifications are met.
In addition to the coal washing process, Celtic Energy carry out blending operations to supply Aberthaw Power Station with approximately 500,000 tonnes of coal per annum. The carefully selected blend coals are delivered from the production sites by road and rail. This final blended product is transferred by a series of conveyors on to a rapid loading pad where it is loaded on to trains for delivery to Aberthaw. A typical delivery schedule would be for 8 trains per week carrying 1500 tonnes each. The blending operation is carefully monitored by the on site laboratory to ensure that the specification for ash, moisture, volatile, sulphur and calorific value is met.
Onllwyn DC directly employs over 60 personnel, mostly from the local communities. Along with other indirect employment and supplier business, Onllwyn DC makes a considerable contribution to the local economy.
Coal is despatched to customers in a variety of ways from road vehicles loaded directly from plant production, lorries loaded from stock over purpose designed wet and dry screening facilities, to road and rail borne container deliveries and bulk rail deliveries in train sizes up to 1400 tonnes.