MBR Iron Concentrate Pipeline

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Iron concentrate slurry transport

VALE SA, (previously MBR), built a new pelletisation plant to receive iron concentrate slurry in Vargem Grande, approximately 5.4 kilometres (km) from the Pico Mine beneficiation plant in Itabirito in the state of Minas Gerais.

In 2004, Ausenco was retained by MBR to perform a screening study to evaluate approximately 20 options for various slurry pipeline systems for transporting iron concentrate.

Our scope of work included:

  • Hydraulic study
  • System component sizing
  • Capital and operating cost estimates
  • Economic analysis

Subsequently, Ausenco was selected to provide a full range of engineering services, from detailed route investigation through to construction management support.

The 5.4 km, 12.75-inch pipeline is located at an elevation of 1,338 metres above sea level, and transports iron concentrate slurry from the Pico Mine beneficiation plant to the Vargem Grande pelletisation plant using one pump station.

The nominal production of the pipeline is 7 million tonnes per year (Mt/y) on a dry base. The material is pumped at a concentrate of 68% of solids by weight.

Two different products of iron ore concentrate (blast furnace and direct reduction) are transported in batch modes.

The pipeline, which has been in continuous operation since 2009, was designed for 25 years of continuous operation with 95% availability.

Project details

Iron ore
Business line
Process Infrastructure
Vale SA—previously Minerações Brasileiras Reunidas S.A. (MBR)
Solution phase
Innovate, Create
Program management, Engineering, Global procurement, Construction management, Commissioning, EPC/EPCM, Studies and technical solutions