Ausenco PSI was selected by Bao Tou Steel Group to perform a complete range of engineering services for the Bai Yun E Bo pipeline system, consisting of an iron concentrate pipeline, fresh water pipeline and tailings transportation system.
Design, construction and operation of the bare steel pipeline were extremely challenging, as it is located in the Inner Mongolia region of China, where temperatures drop as low as -34°C.
Ausenco PSI provided a full range of services for the concentrate, water and tailings systems, ranging from design services to execution support.
The iron concentrate pipeline, at 145 kilometres (km), is the longest iron concentrate pipeline in China.
The 130 km water pipeline—the longest water pipeline in China, and serviced by only one pump station—was designed to transport water across an arid region in support of both ore beneficiation and the livelihood of nearby communities.
Ecological considerations, such as the impact on surrounding communities and the environment, played a key role in the pipeline system designs. The buried pipelines provide an ecologically favourable alternative to conventional forms of transport, such as truck and rail. In addition, the tailings deposition system has helped the client to significantly reduce environmental impacts on the surrounding areas.
Iron concentrate and water
The concentrate pipeline system includes a 145 km, 14-inch diameter buried pipeline with a throughput of 5.5 million tonnes per year (Mtpy); one head pump station located at the concentrator plant; one pressure monitoring station; and pipeline terminal facilities.
The 130 km, 36-inch diameter high-pressure water pipeline transports 2,500 m3/h of Yellow River water. It also uses a fast-closing, unidirectional check valve for water hammer control and an additional surge release valve system.
The pipeline systems are controlled and monitored with a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system provided by our control systems specialist group.
The fiber-optic based SCADA system, so vital to the pipeline operation, connects all of the pipeline valve and monitoring stations.
The SCADA system includes human machine interfaces (HMI), a data historian server, and programmable controller-based control hardware.
We also provided our Pipeline Advisor™ software, an operations tool that offers process optimisation through remote, real-time monitoring and analysis capabilities. Pipeline Advisor™ also provides leak detection, batch/interface tracking and process control advice.
The iron concentrate and water pipeline systems were commissioned in 2010.
In early 2008, we performed a feasibility study for the tailings deposition system, which included designs for the concentrate, tailings transportation and tailings deposition systems. Based on this work, we were subsequently retained to provide basic and detailed engineering as well as construction support.
The thickened tailings deposition system includes two high efficiency thickeners to thicken tailings from a wt% of 9.5% to 45-50%; a pump station to pump the tailings through a pipeline to the dam area; two deep cone thickeners to achieve 73% paste; and pumping to the impoundment.
The tailings transport system also includes a 2.9/2.5 km, 22/14-inch thickened tailings and paste surface disposal system to handle 7.0 Mtpy of tailings.
The project has further reduced the environmental impact to the city of Baotou from mining tailings, and has created favourable conditions for Bao Tou Steel to further bring tailings under control.
The project was commissioned and put into operation in 2010.