Long Distance Slurry Pipelines

Long distance slurry pipelines are a proven technology and are widely accepted as a viable alternative to conventional bulk transport of minerals. Key to the success of a long distance slurry pipeline is minimizing operating costs by determining the optimum grinding requirements for pipeline transport.

Our extensive laboratory services and in-depth knowledge of slurry flow behaviour means that we are able to determine the most efficient combination of material properties together with pump and pipeline requirements for long distance transport. We have completed numerous long distance slurry pipeline projects, from pre-feasibility to detailed engineering design, construction assistance and commissioning.

We have developed sophisticated simulation software used to determine the control requirements for long distance pipelines to ensure that overpressure due to transient events is minimised. With the software, control sequences such as start-up and shut down, are tested and the consequences of fault or trip conditions are simulated. The pumping system can be assessed with multiple slurry batches, covering a range of different densities and hydraulic properties including water batches in the pipeline to simulate the effect that batches may have on the system behaviour and the response of the system to varying slurry properties.

Paterson & Cooke’s long distance slurry pipeline engineering team have been involved in engineering many of the slurry pipeline systems operating throughout the world today. The multidiscipline team undertakes all phases of pipeline engineering, from studies to detail design, construction support, commissioning and operator training.

Notable Projects

Jorf Lasfar Phosphate Pipeline, Morocco

Paterson & Cooke completed the detailed design, engineering and commissioning support of the 186 km long phosphate ore pipeline from Khouribga Mine to Jorf Lasfar and the feeder pipeline systems from the process plants to the pump head station. The head station receives ore of different grades from the feeder stations, and pumps the ore in separate batches via the main 900 mm diameter pipeline to the terminal that delivers different grades of ore to dedicated storage tanks. A choke station at the terminal ensures that the system remains fully pressurised flow at all times so as to prevent slack flow.

Commissioned in 2014, the system transports 38 MTA of phosphate ore and is the highest capacity ore slurry pipeline in the world, providing a significant proportion of global phosphate demand.

Ramu Nickel Laterite Ore Pipeline, Papua New Guinea

Paterson & Cooke conducted a review of the feasibility study for the 120 km long nickel laterite ore pipeline for Ramu Nickel and identified the potential for laminar settling due to the viscous nature of the slurry. A series of large scale slurry pipe loop tests were conducted under our supervision in China that formed the basis of our detailed hydraulic design of the pipeline from the Mine Site to the Process Plant.

Pebble Mine, Alaska

We completed a bankable feasibility study for the 140 km long proposed copper/gold concentrate pipeline from Pebble Mine to Anchorage.

Ambatovy, Madagascar

We completed a bankable feasibility study, test work and route survey for the 234 km long Ambatovy nickel laterite pipeline.