In this study, the kinetics of agglomerate growth in a batch oil agglomeration process has been studied using bituminous coal. The effect of operating variables such as kerosene concentration, pulp density and speed of agitation on the agglomeration process was investigated. It has been found that the second-order kinetic equation describes the growth of agglomerates adequately. The growth of the agglomerates in the oil agglomeration process shows a self-preserving growth. Using this, a characteristic curve has been developed. For the prediction of the size distribution of the agglomerates, the d(50) values of the agglomerates must be known. Therefore, a model has been developed by using the kinetic equation for estimation of d(50) values of agglomerates for this coal. It was shown that the size distribution of the agglomerates for any levels of the process variables studied can be predicted using the equation of characteristic curve and d(50) values. Knowledge obtained from this study will be helpful for technological advancement of this kind of study. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.