Slurry Pipelines as Process Vessels
Dr Melissa McKibben (Principal Research Engineer - Saskatchewan Research Council)
Slurry pipelines are frequently employed in the mining and mineral processing industry. While the most common application is for short or long distance transport of ore or tailings, some industries have successfully incorporated their slurry pipeline(s) into their processing flowsheet thereby eliminating one or more process vessels. One of the most notable examples is the use of hydrotransport technology in the oil sand sector. While serving as a transport mechanism for the ore, these slurry pipelines also provide pre-conditioning of the oil sand for extraction, resulting in capital, operating and processing efficiencies. In this presentation, slurry pipelines will be discussed in the context of their potential use as a process vessel including examples of ore and tailings applications. The possibility of applying these ideas to develop similar process improvements over a wider range of mining applications will be introduced.