The vertical casings used for hydraulic filling at a mining and minerals processing site near Mt Isa, Queensland, was recently upgraded using ArmorPIPE composite materials from Imatech .
ArmorPIPE was used as a pipe liner in 144m of vertical hydraulic/wet fill casings that transport 70% solids abrasive slurry from the surface to underground, reaching terminal velocities of up to 40-50 m/s.
Various traditional pipeline systems had been employed at the site, but they experienced short wear lives and/or sudden, catastrophic failure, which had led to frequent pipeline change out every eight to ten weeks, and sometimes loss of the borehole.
The maximum achievable amount of fill reticulated before casing change out or system failure was around 300,000 tonnes or less. The resulting downtime created significant maintenance costs and disruption of mining production.
Imatech consulted with the client to design a highly innovative solution for the site that incorporates the exclusive MXR abrasion resistant ceramic reinforced composite material to achieve a stable, long lasting pipe liner with a gradual and even wear pattern and no risk of catastrophic failure by sheet de-lamination.
The composite materials were applied at Imatech’s manufacturing facility in Geelong before being delivered to the site, with installation carried out using conventional pipe torque equipment.
Since installation, regular video monitoring of the ArmorPIPE system has revealed negligible wear, evenly distributed across the entire surface of the internal lining.
After 2,250,000 tonnes of fill reticulated, 90% of the original liner thickness was left, an achieved improvement by a factor of 7.5. Based on the operational results, the projected life of this casing system is 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 tonnes of fill reticulated, or an estimated improvement of 50 to 66 times.
The successful use of ArmorPIPE composite materials at this site prompted the customer to make specific reference to the solution in a paper presented at a mine backfill conference, stating that Imatech ArmorPIPE is proving to be a profound success, and as such it will become the main casing used in hydraulic fill placement at Mount Isa Mines.