Luna’s Pipeline Monitoring System Ensures Integrity and Smooth Operations for Mining Operations in South America

Mining in remote locations presents several challenges for mine operators. One such challenge is the monitoring of slurry pipelines engineered to safely remove mining waste over long distances. A mixture of the ore concentrate and water, called slurry, is pumped to its destination and the water is then filtered out. Slurry pipelines are used as an alternative to railroad transportation when mines are in remote, inaccessible areas. Because of the abrasive nature of the ore, combined with varying sizes of solids in the slurry, problems can occur at various points along the pipeline.

Slurry pipeline monitoringA long slurry line from a South American mining facility was difficult to monitor because of its remoteness and difficult access through jungle sections. Point sensors could not provide the sufficient detail to identify specific segments where potential problems could occur. A real-time solution that would help the client detect intrusion and digging, leaks and monitor and maintain the flow rates of the slurries was needed to prevent potential blockages.

To monitor the pipeline Luna’s fiber-optic-based distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) system was deployed along the slurry line from a remote mining zone to a port hundreds of kilometers away. The fiber-optic cable deployed along the slurry line was connected to state-of-the-art DAS interrogator units. Luna’s OptaSense OS6™ real-time visualization software was deployed within the mining operations control room to ensure that the right people had the information needed to make critical decisions without any delays. By applying real-time analysis of the signals, a warning system was implemented to notify the operators if any problems started to develop.

The monitoring solution enabled safe operation of slurry lines 24/7 and enabled rapid response to prevent line disruption.  The solution also reduces personnel hazards in remote field locations, saves operator’s time and minimizes the impact to the communities. To learn more about Luna’s pipeline monitoring solutions check out our website here