Quality Assurance for the Coal Industry

Cotecna is a leading provider of inspection & testing services for the coal industry. Discover our essential role along the supply chain.

Coal is an essential commodity used as fuel for energy and raw material in the production of metals and chemicals. As of 2016, coal provided about a quarter of the world's primary energy and two-fifths of electricity usage. Proper quality control is imperative for producers to minimize costs, improve operations, and reduce emissions.

The coal market trades under a wide variety of national and international standards. Therefore, all industry participants need to benefit from accredited quality assessment services to meet their contractual or regulatory specifications. At Cotecna, we help our clients to comply with recognized sampling and analytical standards and methods, thereby enabling them to mitigate quality-associated trading issues and financial risks. Cotecna's added value also helps clients make business more transparent and sustainable by ensuring that coal cargoes comply with environmental standards and other norms.

Our operational units and laboratories are strategically located to cover the essential steam and metallurgical coal trading centres worldwide. We offer specialized services to central and local industry players. Our services range from independent assessments of the product's quality and quantity to consultancy and bespoke training solutions.

Our activities cover the entire coal supply chain: we support producers in delivering coal to final users in accordance with contractual and regulatory quality and quantity specifications, thus maximizing profitability while protecting customers' interests. Respecting quality standards is of benefit to the different parties involved at all stages of the process and contributes to the market competitiveness.

Cotecna helps the industry deal with geological variability in product quality and volumes, exploring geological core analysis at the mining stage. Coal is then processed at preparation plants to minimize this variability and maximize yields. To address quality needs and make sure our clients' processes comply with national and international standards at this step, we provide a wide range of services, including run-of-the-mill sampling and analysis, sample preparation, bulk screening & washing, as well as management of characterization and liberation projects. Bench type samples can be prepared using unique techniques to ensure sample integrity.

In South Africa, we are recognized as one of the most professional inspection & testing companies in the mining sector. We manage on-site laboratories, design sampling systems following the ISO standards, and audit washing plants to optimize processes. It allows producers to consistently achieve the requirements of their product and meet market needs.

Cotecna also supervises loading, discharge and transhipment operations at the most vital ports handling coal cargoes. At loading ports, we provide numerous services such as holds inspections, loading supervision, weight determination surveys using shore scales and draft surveys, sampling or automatic sampling supervision, hatch cover sealing and marine surveys.
Samples are sent to our accredited laboratories for preparation and analysis according to the contractual and regulatory specifications required in the transaction. The resulting quantity and quality determinations are then certified and used for the sale contract's financial settlement covering the cargo.

Our intervention typically includes weight determination and sampling and analysis at discharge ports, often required by the authorities to ensure that the coal meets environmental regulation limits. Cotecna can offer stock monitoring services to improve access to financing for borrowers when it comes to storage. Thus, we mitigate transaction risks for lenders and comply with the Basel frameworks requirements for traders.

Drawing on this extensive experience, Cotecna was appointed by the Indian Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR) in 2020 to sample over 800 million metric tons of domestic coal per annum at mines and thermal power plants. Our teams of inspectors are responsible for performing both sampling and sample preparation.

To stay competitive in this dynamic market, Cotecna is continuously investing in modern facilities and cutting-edge equipment and providing state of the art coal services in the US, South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and China. We now stand as the largest coal inspection agency in India and has a team of over 3,000 contractors and employees located in coal mines and at around 70 thermal power plants across the country.

We keep an innovative approach to the industry, providing technical expertise and unique solutions to individual challenges. We keep expanding our network while staying very reactive and approachable.

About Cotecna

Cotecna provides testing, inspection, and certification services to facilitate trade and make supply chains more efficient for its clients. Founded in Switzerland in 1974, this family-owned business has grown to become a world-class international player with over 5000 employees in more than 150 offices and labs across approximately 50 countries. Its trusted network of professionals and certified & accredited laboratories provide expertise across some key sectors: agriculture & food, minerals, metals & fertilizers, government & trade, and general cargo.

Keywords: coal, mining, inspection, mineral, testing, analyses, laboratory, carbon, organic