Fluid conveyance company The Rare Group’s contract to supply the first of two phases of a new slurry pipeline at a copper mining company operating in Zambia was completed at the end of March this year.

Rare supplied and installed 3 175 m of 610 mm Nominal Bore (NB) steel pipe lined with a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) lining at the Konkola Copper Mines’

Steel pipes are being put in position and prepared to be lined with Rare’s 624 mm HDPE SDR 36 plastic liners on site at Konkola Copper Mines
Steel pipes are being put in position and prepared to be lined with Rare’s 624 mm HDPE SDR 36 plastic liners on site at Konkola Copper Mines

near Chingola. The HDPE pipes used for the project were manufactured at the Rare Plastics factory in Meyerton near Johannesburg and the steel pipes were sourced from Barnes in Wadeville, Johannesburg.

The pipeline is an expansion of existing infrastructure to allow the mine to handle larger volumes of slurry. It will also be used as a back-up system for possible pump failures, says Rare Group pipeline services manager Carl von Graszouw.

This project comprised the supply and installation of the 610 NB steel pipeline, lined with Rare’s 624 mm HDPE SDR 36 plastic liners, as well as the supply of 108 flanges. It also included civil engineering work, bush clearing and commissioning. Whilst working on the project, Rare has been given the job to reclaim 3 200 m of existing old spool line that is being removed to accommodate the new pipeline.

The project was awarded in August last year and work commenced in October. The supply, installation and commissioning of the pipeline has now been completed.

This is the third project of its kind for Konkola Copper Mines and the third Muntimpa line installed by the Rare Group. According to Von Graszouw, two pipelines had been installed and commissioned at this facility by Rare in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

He notes: “Rare understands the challenges of projects of this kind. Due to the speed of installation and the integrity of the constructed system, the use of its plastic lining technology results in a significant reduction on the impact to the community and environment.”

This is a high profile project which plays a major role in the continued operation of the mine. If phase two of the project is completed later this year, it will be the last phase of three slurry pipelines measuring a total of 25 km and operating at 20 bar pressure that would have been installed by The Rare Group for Konkola Copper Mines in Chingola.

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