Minas-Rio Iron Concentrate Pipeline System

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  • OfferingSlurry pipeline
  • CommodityIron ore
  • LocationBrazil
  • Business lineProcess Infrastructure
  • ClientAnglo American
  • Timeframe2005 - 2015
  • Solution phaseEvaluate, Innovate, Create
  • ServiceStudies and technical solutions

World’s longest and largest iron concentrate pipeline

Anglo American retained Ausenco to perform a full range of engineering services on the Minas-Rio iron project (formerly the MMX Iron Ore Pipeline System). The project has an integrated system comprising open-pit mines, a beneficiation plant, a 529km slurry pipeline, filtering plant and an export terminal at the Atlantic port of Acu. The pipeline is the longest iron concentrate pipeline in the world, in addition to being the largest tonnage.

The 24/26-inch diameter pipeline system is designed to transport 26.5 Mt/y of iron ore from the Conceição do Mato Dentro mine site in Minas Gerais (elevation of 770 metres), through 33 municipal districts, to terminal facilities at Barra do Açu in Rio de Janeiro, on the coast of Brazil.

The pipeline system includes:

  • one pump station with eight pumps located at the concentrator plant
  • one intermediate pump station with 10 pumps and associated orifice station
  • 10 pressure monitoring stations
  • one main valve and orifice station
  • a 529 km, 24/26-inch outside diameter buried concentrate pipeline with external coating
  • pipeline terminal facilities.

Ausenco also coordinated the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and telecommunications systems, and provided Ausenco's customised Pipeline Simulator software package for system modelling and operator training, and the Pipeline Advisor software for process optimisation and leak detection.

The project created 12,500 full-time jobs and hired more than 20,000 workers at the peak of construction, and the total development cost of the Minas-Rio project is estimated to be $8.4bn.

The first ore shipment of more than 80,000 metric tons was made in October 2014. Anglo American plans to ramp up to its capacity of 26.5 million tons per year during 2015 and 2016, and continue until the end of its mine life.