The “Indiana Jones” Pipe Conveyor

The name Indiana Jones immediately evokes images of snakes, deep jungle, man-eater and gold. A pipe conveyor may seem a far cry from the fantastic adventures of this well-known film character, but FLSmidth Wadgassen did in fact accomplish such a breath-taking material handling feat in Papua New Guinea.

The pipe conveyor runs like a long winding snake through a mountainous jungle area, located in the “so-called man-eater region” of the hidden valley, transporting gold ore from the mine site to the process plant.

Like a roller coaster
With a total distance of nearly 5.3 km the pipe conveyor is one of the longest of its kind in the world. It has the most ambitious “roller-coaster design” with curves adding up to a total of 719 degrees (equal to two complete turns of a circle). The system is designed to carry 800 tonnes of ore per hour and features a pipe diameter of only 300 mm with a belt speed of 4 m/s.

The feed point at the mine site is situated at 2,420 m above sea level; from there the conveyor basically runs downhill into a river valley at only 1,900 m above sea level, before climbing up again to the discharge point at the process plant at approximately 2,100 m above sea level. To overcome distance and elevation under all operating conditions, four 630 kW motors have been installed, all VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) controlled, with two units placed at the tail end and two at the head end.

More than 350 containers with fabricated steel parts were then shipped from Vietnam to Papua New Guinea, unpacked at site and their contents subsequently installed
— Matthias Schmidt Sales Support Manager, FLSmidth Wadgassen FLSmidth Minerals Papua New Guinea

Comprehensive project
FLSmidth Wadgassen was awarded the project by Australian-based Morobe Consolidated Goldfields Ltd. in late 2007. This very comprehensive project included overall responsibility for engineering, procurement, logistical coordination plus installation and commissioning management with work being carried out on three continents.

Engineering was done by FLSmidth Wadgassen in Germany and was finalised by the end of summer 2008. To optimise the overall progress of the project this took place in close coordination with a detailed site survey, which was conducted in parallel with the engineering.

Complex logistics
The procurement and shipment of all the vendor items was finalised by the end of 2008. Structural steel fabrication took place in Vietnam and started already six months after the contract had been signed. Nearly 3,000 tonnes of fabricated structural steel was engineered, fabricated, painted, pre-assembled and packed into standard containers. More than 350 containers with fabricated steel parts were then shipped from Vietnam to Papua New Guinea, unpacked at site and their contents subsequently installed.

Together with the items procured from Europe, the total weight of the equipment installed was close to 4,000 tonnes; most of the installation work took place between early and mid 2009, covering the entire distance of the system and for a large part through very difficult terrain.

Cold and hot commissioning followed in the autumn 2009 and was completed within only a few weeks. Since the mine and the process plant became fully operational end of 2009, the FLSmidth pipe conveyor has been serving successfully as the reliable link between these two sites. Read more about FLSmidth Wadgassen on page 9.

Based on KOCH
technology, FLSmidth is the leader in pipe conveying systems
FLSmidth’s KOCH pipe conveyor offers a conveying solution for all types of bulk materials, from cement to coal and from phosphate granulates to wood chips.  It is specially designed to ensure high availability and low investment costs and to protect both materials and the environment.

With more than 300 installed systems and more than 150 km of conveying length located in more than 40 countries, the KOCH pipe conveyor is clearly the world’s number one. No other pipe conveyor system is so fully developed, installed in so many applications and so successfully tested in operation.

The KOCH pipe conveyor is easily integrated into existing plants, only requires up to 60% space compared to conventional systems, and provides reliable long-distance transportation, specifically in difficult terrain. Each KOCH pipe con-
veyor incorporates extensive know-how on dealing with the most varied types of material. Specially developed design elements have been have been tested and optimised in actual operations.

The story on this page tells you more about one of the latest pipe conveyor challenges successfully overcome by FLSmidth.

CONTACT: Matthias Schmidt