World's first commercial nickel laterite slurry pipeline

Ambatovy Nickel Laterite Slurry Pipeline System
Ambatovy Minerals SA/SNC-Lavalin
Industry Sector
Minerals & Metals
Base Metals
Service Area
Basic & Detailed Engineering; Operations Control Systems; Slurry Pipelines

Ausenco was selected by the client to perform a complete range of services, from design through start-up support, for the world’s first commercial nickel laterite slurry pipeline system

The pipeline system is designed to transport 72 million tonnes per year (Mt/y) of laterite ore from the Ambatovy mine site to terminal facilities at Toamasina (Tamatave) in Madagascar.

The system design includes:

  • A 208 kilometre (km), 24-inch diameter buried concentrate pipeline
  • One pump station at the ore preparation plant, with the provision to add additional pumps should slurry properties change
  • Three pressure monitoring stations along the pipeline route
  • One main valve station along the pipeline route
  • Pipeline terminal/choke facilities

Ausenco’s control systems group also added the following:

  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system with remote power systems and fiber optic telecommunications
  • Ausenco’s Pipeline AdvisorTM package for process optimisation and leak detection

In 2011, Ausenco successfully completed commissioning and start-up of the pipeline – the first nickel laterite slurry pipeline in the world.

After the project was successfully in operation for approximately one year. Ausenco was retained again to provide performance testing and further training for operations safety, efficiency and maintenance.