Business: Redline Projects Deep Tailings Line at Konkola
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For Zambia’s Konkola Deep Mining Project, the last of more than seven kilometres of steel pipe for the backfill tailings installation was lined in July.
The second contract, involving pipe-lining for the wet ash disposal lines at an Eskom power station, is currently under way.
Both contracts, together valued at approximately R14-million, specified UMP’s proprietary Redline polyurethane formulation as the lining medium.
The necessary capacity was provided by a second pipe-spinning oven commissioned last year to allow UMP to line 30 pipe lengths with Redline each day at the peak of the Konkola contract.
“The order for Konkola Deep was one of the largest we have ever taken for protective pipe-lining,” explained UMP managing director, Trevor Carolin.
“It encompassed 2335 pipe lengths delivered to us by Rare Chemical, the company supplying and installing the backfill tailings lines.
“These pipes will operate under high pressure, so we had to be very accurate with the lining process to prevent any possibility of de-bonding at the pipe ends,” continued Carolin.
“All pipes were put through strict quality inspection and verification after lining, including numbering and recording of each pipe in the tailings line,” he said.
The Konkola Deep Mining Project will almost quadruple Konkola’s copper production by accessing the rich ore body that lies beneath the current operation, extending mine life by 23 years and involving the sinking of a new shaft to a depth of 1490 metres.
It was to avoid the need for pipe maintenance and replacement at this depth that the decision was taken to protect the abrasion-prone backfill tailings pipes with Redline.
Besides extending pipe life to a minimum of ten years, Redline’s very low coefficient of friction also lowers the cost of pumping the tailings underground, reducing energy consumption and lowering the cost per ton of mined ore.
UMP was the first company in South Africa to successfully line backfill pipes at President Steyn Mine in the Free State, in 1980, leading to several subsequent orders for backfill pipe-lining at other mines.
At Vaal Reefs, pipes lined with Redline in 1990 are only now beginning to show signs of wear.
The product is suitable not only for lining pipes, but also pipe fittings such as bends, laterals, T-pieces and reducers.
Other applications for Redline include pipes in process plant mills, flotation reticulation, pipe and box launders, cyclone underflow systems, power generation plants, sand or gravel washing plants, and pulp, paper and sugar mills.
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