The Esperanza project for pipeline leak detection is located in the Antofagasta Region of northern Chile and involves the mining and processing of ore to produce a concentrate containing copper, gold, silver, and molybdenum. Concentrate from the mine is transported by a dedicated 154 km pipeline to a Pacific port for water extraction of the pulp, storage, and shipment. The project employs new and innovative processes for a large-scale mining operation including the use of seawater and a detection system to prevent accidental leaks of both pipeline’s contents and allow the Esperanza project to meet the highest environmental standards. Two leak detection analyzers are installed along the pipe generating continuous optical signals into optical fiber cables of a SCADA system that provides data transmission along the pipeline. A real-time notification and alert system ensures that any accidental concentrate or seawater leakages are immediately reported to the pipeline operator who can close the appropriate valves to stop the flow of materials. With the location of any leaks pinpointed, corrective measures can be undertaken at minimal time and expense.
Aim of monitoring:
Leak detection system for a pair of 154 km parallel pipelines that transport mining concentrates and industrial salt water for the Esperanza copper-gold mine.