The Use Of Pigs In The Samarco Pipeline To Allow Transportation Capacity Rehabilitation And Integrity Programme Implementation

Souza, J. C. M. de
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2007
The Samarco pipeline, the longest in the world for iron ore slurry transportation, started operation in 1977 to transport concentrate from the Germano facilities, in the state of Minas Gerais, to the pelletizing plant, located 396 km away, in the state of Espirito Santo, on the south-east coast of Brazil. Designed for a nominal capacity of 12 million tons per year, the pipeline reached 15.5 million/year due to operational improvement and, in late 2005, it was resized to transport 16.5 million tons per year, with the installation of a booster station. In order to ensure the accurate performance of the system, a pipeline cleaning programme was carried out and, since it has been29 years from the operation start-up, precise knowledge of the pipe condition would be fundamental to guarantee the success of the project. The cleaning programme demonstrated the potential of operational gains from this initiative, and its effect on the corrosion control and future measures, which should be permanently adopted to maintain the improved capacity. The intelligent pig runs provided essential data used to establish a pipeline integrity programme that allowed Samarco to develop a pipe repair plan based on the severity and significance of the features and to implement a future pipe replacement plan.
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