Growth in the coal industry over recent years has created a number of significant challenges for service providers to meet, the industry now has a greater geographical footprint, is producing more, exporting more and is striving to find more coal as market demand exceeds supply.
Coal producers are requiring greater depth and breadth of service to achieve production and profit targets in the face of greater regulatory control, constrained infrastructure and skills shortages.
As an analytical services provider to the mining industry, scaling up to meet demand requires not just more analytical instruments, but the ability to invest in people, new facilities, new technologies and support systems. ALS has positioned itself to be the premier provider of analytical testing services to the coal industry by addressing these issues and developing a service offering to maximise customer value.
The ALS Service Offering
ALS has a number of business divisions that offer a range of testing services to the resources industry across Australia. These divisions include:
ALS Coal Division provides specialist services to the black coal industry such as coal sampling and analysis and the certification of export cargoes.
The Environmental Division of ALS is one of the largest and most geographically diverse environmental testing businesses in the world. The division also provides certified electronics testing to assist computer, electronics and consumer product manufactures to identify possible micro contaminants and meet environmental regulations.
The ALS Minerals Division is the premier provider of analytical laboratory services to test geological materials for the global mining and exploration industries. The division also provides mineralogy services using rapid SEMbased quantitative mineralogy technology that automatically identifies minerals and derives quantitative mineralogical reports for exploration geologists and mineral processors.
The ALS Industrial Division provides the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors with testing, inspection and asset care services.
The ALS Tribology Division provides an independent assessment of the suitability and condition of lubricating oils, greases, coolants and fuels for equipment operation, preventative maintenance and diagnostic purposes.
The ALS Coal Division has close service ties with coal producers and users and provides tailored solutions with local support for the industry. Across Australia, ALS has 12 coal testing facilities providing local support and specialist services. For instance our facilities in the Bowen Basin offer specialist production and minesite services. Facilities such as Richlands and Maitland specialise in exploration (bore core) services and testing. Facilities at Newcastle Gladstone, Mackay and Bowen all provide superintending services to local ports. While each lab specialises in one or two service offerings, each ALS lab acts as a service centre for all requirements of the industry to provide local customer management. This is especially true for the laboratories close to mining operations where a number of complimentary services such as environmental and occupational hygiene monitoring are provided in conjunction with the ALS Environmental Division.
In detail, ALS Coal Division services include:
Borecore and Exploration Services
ALS borecore and exploration services can assist clients in developing a borecore program specifically tailored to the clients needs, providing a comprehensive picture of in-g round coal resources and potential products.
Superintending and Certification
ALS provides fast, reliable, independent cargo sampling and analysis and quality determinations with integrity and accuracy.
ALS production services assist mines achieving optimal coal quality management along the production and transportation chain. Services include the provision of accredited sampling and testing services from either a local laboratory or the development and management of an on-site laboratory.
Coke Quality and Carbonisation
ALS offers small scale and pilot scale coke making services with complimentary coke testing facilities including reactivity testing and the full suite of drum indices.
Education and Training
Through our training services business, ‘MineSkill’, ALS can deliver unique, industry recognised courses to clients globally, in various formats and duration which also include specific tailoring of courses to meet your training needs.
ALS provides fast, accurate and reliable mine air and diesel exhaust gas analysis to the underground mining industry; ensuring the safety of all workers.
Our expert sampling staff provides accurate and reliable environmental monitoring and testing services for all compliance and discharge events.
Occupational Hygiene Monitoring
ALS provide occupational hygiene monitoring and consulting services to assist coal mines meet all regulatory and best practice requirements.
Investment in Facilities
The development of new mines and infrastructure from pit to port has necessitated expansion of ALS facilities and coverage. ALS has and continues to invest heavily into new sites or significant expansion of current facilities. Major developments past and present include:
New facility – Gladstone QLD June 2007. This development increased capacity and gross floor space by 190%.
New facility – Newcastle NSW – August 2008. This was a major development increasing capacity and gross floor space by 350%.
Expansion – Gladstone QLD. September 2008. A further expansion to accommodate new services and environmental client services.
New facility – Gunnedah NSW – April 2009. This was a green field construction developing a new regional laboratory to service the Gunnedah Basin.
New facility – Lithgow NSW – January 2009. This was a new development increasing capacity and gross floor space by 150%.
New facility – Richlands QLD – April 2011. The new Richlands facility is the new global headquarters for ALS Coal and will offer an unparalleled level of service through state of the art technologies. ALS Richlands is three times the size of the Ipswich facility which it is replacing and is the largest facility of its type in the world.
New facility – Emerald – May 2011. The new facility will increase gross floor space by 210% and will offer a broader range of services to local producers.
New facility – Bowen – July 2011. This facility is a green field expansion into Bowen to provide services to Abbot Point Coal Terminal and minesite services to the Northern Bowen Basin.
New facility – Mackay – Due May 2012. Currently under development, this facility will be a major regional service centre that offers coal, environmental and industrial services to the industry. The facility will be 170% larger than the current and will be equipped with a broader range of coal testing services.
Investment in People
Along with the expansion of ALS Coal’s services, ALS continues to inject knowledge and skills into its staff to address workload increases and skills shortages. ALS Coal have dedicated training experts managing an in-house, competency based training program that delivers more than just training, delivering a skilled, motivated workforce, with nationally recognised certification. Coupled with a management team consisting of nationally recognised coal technologists, ALS has the ability to transform new entrants to the industry to competent coal testing technicians and consultants.
Investment in Technology
ALS Coal has and continues to invest heavily into R&D, offering contract services to the industry as well as in-house technical advances. Automation projects have delivered a range of innovative sample preparation and analysis equipment which have greatly reduced turnaround times and improved quality. ALS has a dedicated R&D department and engineering team currently working on advances in coal preparation and analysis with the view of improving our ability to understand coal quality from exploration to end use.
ALS is committed to servicing the coal industry and can offer Australia’s most comprehensive range of coal testing services. To find out more about ALS coal, contact us on: