Image: The long haul: Our 30-year commitment to the first multi-product pipeline in a mountainous region

Minerals & Metals2 min read

The long haul: Our 30-year commitment to the first multi-product pipeline in a mountainous region

Huari Province, Peru
Compañia Minera Antamina S.A
1989 - 2021 (Continuing)
Copper; Zinc

In a partnership spanning over 30 years, Ausenco has worked with Compania Minera Antamina S.A.(CMA) to perform a full range of engineering services for a copper and zinc concentrate slurry pipeline system, including initial design, construction and commissioning plus subsequent operational support – the first multi-product slurry pipeline system in a mountainous region in the world.

The Challenge

CMA needed a multi-product pipeline to deliver copper and zinc concentrate slurry from their Antamina mine site at 4,100m above sea level in Northern Peru, to terminal facilities in Huarmey. The steel pipeline would traverse mountainous terrain and needed to transport up to 1.4 mt/y of concentrate safely and reliably.

The pipeline system included a 304 km buried steel pipeline, one head pump station at the concentrator plant, four valve/choke stations and pressure monitoring stations along the pipeline route, and complete terminal facilities.

The Better Way

Brought in at the very beginning, our teams completed a comprehensive feasibility study that included route planning, pipeline constructability evaluation, conceptual design, and a corresponding ±15% cost estimate. We provided both basic and detailed engineering, procurement support, construction supervision, the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, commissioning, operator training, and operations support.

After commissioning of the pipeline in 2001, we continued to support CMA in their ongoing operation. Using our proprietary Pipeline Simulator™ software, we tested if it would be possible to transport a lead and bismuth slurry with the existing pipeline system and showed that it was feasible if products were batched within a one-hour timeframe. Additional work included audits of the pipeline performance, operations, and emergency plan, as well as whether modifications could be made to reduce pipeline water consumption.

Between 2007 and late 2009, we led a conceptual study into the development of a SAG mill bypass pipeline, performed stress modelling and analysis on a section of the pipeline near an area of seismic faults, and completed lab work to determine the cause of an internal liner disbondment/failure. We then assessed and coordinated the repair of a section of damaged pipeline adjacent to the Pativilca-Huaraz highway.

We continue to work with Antamina on various assignments up to the present.

The Outcome

Our long-standing relationship with CMA throughout the life of the Antamina project continues to provide our client with enduring value from this critical component of their operation. With a shared commitment to success, our pipeline experts and technology solutions ensure the pipeline functions reliably and safely, transporting up to 1.4 mt/y of concentrate.

Our customized Pipeline Simulator™ software was critical in training pipeline operators to control and optimize the pipeline system, and our Pipeline Advisor™ software continues to provide real-time pipeline monitoring, leak detection and process optimisation to ensure ongoing safety.