Engineering & Mining International - Issue of Fall 2014

Posted by: David Schwedel

Coalview, Ltd. was founded in 2011 by David Schwedel after his acquisition of the coal fines recovery company Beard Technologies. Coalview specializes in processing coal mine refuse into usable fuel. The refuse, also called slurry, consists of coal fines, water, rocks and dirt resulting from washing coal and other minerals, and is typically disposed of in above-ground pits or small impoundments. 

In 2013 the company secured $42 million in funding to launch its first major project, located in Centralia, Washington, at a former mine site. The new coal recovery plant, which will operate at a rate of 200 tons per hour, is set for completion by the end of 2014. The plant will be used to process more than 20 million pounds of slurry, situated across three impoundment structures formerly owned by TransAlta, which closed in 2006.

Coalview is distinguished in its industry for its sample testing and analysis capabilities, as well as its proprietary drilling system, Vibracore. David Henry, president of Coalview’s recovery group, describes Vibracore as “a unique 8-wheel drive, low-ground-pressure, all-terrain, amphibious drill rig that is capable of drilling quickly, accurately and inexpensively even in the hardest-to-reach places.” The company also has made significant technological investments through its purchase of KeLa Energy. KeLa Energy is a leader in engineered fuel production and has patented technologies for amalgamating and processing coal waste. In addition, Coalview collaborated with the Wisconsin-based company Rohr-Idreco Sludge Systems to design a dredging system for transporting the slurry, and with the West Virginia-based company Rock and Coal Construction to design and build the plant’s systems.

To process the slurry at the three sites near Centralia, the plant will include a two-stage concentrating coal spiral to separate the usable portion of slurry from other parts and dewatering technology to reduce the slurry’s moisture content. Non-usable materials will be processed and disposed for partial reclamation through the creation of desirable wetlands. The disposal process will utilize an existing open pit, which will significantly reduce the liabilities of TransAlta.

 For Coalview Ltd., Centralia is expected to be the first of many important and successful projects. Future plans include recovery projects in the states of Alabama, Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as in Canada. The company, which can design, engineer, construct, install and manage plants, is able to provide upfront funding for its projects and is on a trajectory to become a global leader in the arena of coal technology.