The contributions of Dick Sanders to the Coal Preparation Society are probably unsurpassed for someone who was never a member of any state or national committee – he was always keen to be involved, but has worked in a number of companies in which his close colleagues were members of the committee already. While many people will know Dick for his wit and wisdom at meetings and conferences, and for his ability to extract amazing conclusions from coal quality information, the full extent of his contributions is not well known.
Dick was involved in one of the pivotal events in the development of the Australian Coal Preparation Society – the running of the First Australian Coal Preparation Conference in Newcastle , 1981. He was part of the local organising committee that set the bench mark for all the conferences that followed, with 300 delegates registered and many turned away.
After obtaining a Metallurgy Certificate and working in physical testing of metal products, he began his involvement in the coal industry through bore core evaluation, which led to him undertaking a B.Sc. (Geology). In summary his career has encompassed:
- 1958-63: John Lysaght (Aust) Pty Ltd as a Trainee, Senior Shift Tester and Quality Control Officer.
- 1964-65: BHP Central Research Laboratories as a Technical Officer in the Metallurgy Section.
- 1965-70: BHP Central Research Laboratories as a Senior Technical Officer working on the development of Auscoke, a novel cokemaking technique, and then in the Coal Bore Core Evaluation Group.
- 1970-71: Project Mining Corporation as a Geologist evaluating the Mawson deposit near Swansea.
- 1972-77: as Senior Chemist (Manager) of the Maitland Laboratory and pilot washing facility.
- 1977-82: Peko Wallsend Limited, Coal Division, running the fuel utilisation group that covered coal testing, coal blending and technical support to marketing.
- 1983 – 87: Australian Coal Industry Research Laboratories (ACIRL) as Superintendent- Laboratory Services responsible for five laboratories around.
- 1987 – present: QCC (Quality Coal Consulting, later QCC Resources) as company founder, director and Executive Consultant.
QCC has grown and developed over the last twenty years to become one of the most highly regarded coal consulting groups and providers of CHPP design and engineering services. This in itself is a remarkable achievement because in 1987 the services sector for the coal industry was only in its infancy, placing QCC as one of the pioneers.
The contributions that Dick has made to the industry in general include:
- worked with Arthur le Page on some of the early wet pretreatment work that was the forerunner of today's techniques that are fundamental to reliable plant design
- carried out pilot plant trials of many types of equipment and coal types in his stint at ACIRL Maitland
- in the early 1970s contributed to the development of blending techniques at the Port of Newcastle being part of the original push to improve sampling in the Port of Newcastle and was a co-founder of ‘The Port of Newcastle Sampling Study Group’
- the recognition of being a leading coal quality expert in working with Ken Preston to recognize the importance of in situ moisture and density in assessing coal reserves, with the Preston & Sanders formula now part of recognised procedures in this area
- carrying out many ACARP R&D projects on coal quality and washability contributions to many Australian Standards, including the landmark guide to the use of bore cores in the assessment of coal deposits (AS2519) National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) director and assessor Mines Rescue work; trained from 1973-84.
Some of Dick’s specific Society involvements include:
- Being a member for over 30 years
- Lecturing at innumerable introductory and advanced courses (even when one was not paid)
- Writing the coal quality chapter for the Advanced Monograph Series
- Contributing many papers to ACPS meetings, seminars and conferences, plus International Coal Preparation Congresses
- Being on the local organising committee for the First Australian Coal Preparation Conference
Thus, Dick is a very worthy recipient of a Coal Preparation Society Service Award!