Posted on 09/16/2016 at 8:27am

The Poplar River Power Station is a coal-fired generating station operated by SaskPower, Saskatchewan’s principal electric utility. The power station receives its coal supply from the nearby Poplar River Mine. The power station and the mine have a shared interest in establishing a coal stockpile large enough to sustain plant operations for up to a week.

Poplar River Power Station

Poplar River Power Station

The power station has two generating units with a combined net capacity of 582 MW. At full load, the facility burns 650 tonnes per hour (t/h). The coal arrives at the power station from the mine via a dedicated train and railcar system and is transferred by conveyor to bunker storage inside the plant.

SaskPower engaged CWA to identify and evaluate cost-effective options for upgrades to the existing stacking and reclaiming material handling system to establish a new coal stockpile. The goal would be to maintain an output of 582 MW for up to seven days in the event of unplanned interruptions to coal supply. The stockpile would also provide the mine greater flexibility to perform track maintenance while allowing the power station to schedule longer periods of maintenance on critical equipment with limited downtime.


To provide SaskPower with several options that would meet their objectives and work with the current coal handling system, CWA inspected the existing facility and evaluated existing operations information. General arrangement drawings and process flow diagrams were created for each viable option to show the location of the stockpile and how the proposed equipment would interact with the existing system.

CWA then gathered current pricing information from vendors, prepared capital and operating cost estimates for each option, and conducted a cost-benefit analysis based on current and future operations.

Emphasis was placed on clearly communicating the advantages and disadvantages of each option to enable SaskPower to make an informed decision about which option would best suit their operating requirements.


By carefully evaluating each concept, and estimating the associated costs, CWA was able to provide SaskPower with a feasible and practical solution.

CWA’s recommended solution involves upgrading the throughput of the existing fixed stacking conveyor from 400 t/h to 1200 t/h to match the capacity of other conveyors in the current coal handling system. A new transfer conveyor would connect the upgraded stacking conveyor to a new radial stacker to build the necessary 110,000 tonne coal stockpile. The stockpile reclaim would be conducted using a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer pushing material into the existing reclaim system, which consists of a feeder breaker discharging back into the conveyor network. The radial stockpile design and location proposed by CWA allows for the bulldozer to maintain the required reclaim rate with no interruptions or delays to plant operations.

Understanding SaskPower’s desired future operating objectives allowed CWA to identify a cost-effective solution to meet the power station’s operational needs and provide a viable return on investment.

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