Due to the location of resources and mines, pipelines run through a wide range of terrain, climates and remote areas.

Designing and engineering pipelines that work well over the long haul - including selecting the right material, involves an intimate understanding of the characteristics of the slurry/water you are transporting.

Experts in our South American labs have characterized thousands of slurry samples for mining companies worldwide to understand the slurry characteristics crucial to pipeline projects. The detailed lab work informs pipeline design and the appropriate selection of pipes, pumps and other equipment for each unique pipeline operation. By studying the slurry in the lab, we can more accurately understand how the transported materials will behave under the expected plant conditions, including pumpability and plugging risks during a pipeline shutdown or restart.

Our labs are also called on to perform other tests, such a pipeline integrity testing, for clients in mining, oil and gas and water municipalities etc. We conduct corrosion and anti-incrustation tests (i.e., physical, chemical, and biological testing) that can help prevent future system failure or overload. Based on lab tests, we can design specific maintenance protocols to remove internal deposits on pipelines.

Pipeline cleaning solution based on lab tests

A copper operation in northern Chile commissioned our Santiago lab to study the best cleaning method for a concentrated ore pipeline that saw reduced flow due to a build-up of material on its walls. While this problem is typically solved by a mechanical technique called "pigging," the company was reluctant to pursue this option, having seen it halt production in the past.

We conducted several studies, including electron scanning microscopy and X-ray spectroscopy, to determine the nature of these pipeline incrustations. We discovered a molybdenum species that meant the build-up was not reactive to the use of strong acids usually used for chemical cleaning. The lab team proposed an innovative cleaning protocol based on results from testing several weak acids in various concentrations and rinse cycles.

The client implemented our solution in early 2021, with excellent results. They are now equipped to deal with this commonly occurring issue at their operations.

Contact our labs to #FindABetterWay

Each slurry and its behaviour are different. By examining key slurry properties in the laboratory, we can more accurately understand how your slurry will behave under different conditions and pipeline designs. With labs located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Lima, Peru, we have the resources to conduct a spectrum of studies to help you save time and money.

For more information, contact Francisco Scheihing.