Minera Los Pelambres (MLP) retained Ausenco to perform a full range of services for a project to redirect tailings from Quillayes Dam, which was nearing capacity, to Mauro Dam.
Within this project, our control systems group was responsible for the design of the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, including all instrumentation, controls and communications.
The new tailings system transports whole tailings (tonnage 62.3 million tonnes per year) from the tailings thickener at the concentrator to Mauro Dam, which is a distance of approximately 55 kilometre (km) with an elevation drop of 575 metres.
The SCADA system was designed to control the entire project, including the tailings deposition, 120 km copper concentrate pipe-line and 60 km water reclaim pipeline system, remotely from an operating room at the pump station.
A “read only” work station was also provided in the concentrator and port control room to allow access to operating information.
In the installed system, data from the remote valve stations and terminal is collected by PLCs, which are daisy chained through a fiber optic communications system.
A Land Mobile Radio System (through radio towers along the pipeline) serves as primary voice communication along the pipeline. The radio system also serves as a backup for data transmittal if communication via fibre optic cable fails or maintenance to the fibre optic system is required.
The redirection project was completed in 2003.
In 2009, we returned to provide Ausenco’s Pipeline Advisor™ software package for real-time pipeline monitoring, leak detection and process optimisation.