In-pipe ultrasonic inspections of mud and tailing lines: how to manage difficult to remove scaling, provide quality and accurate defect assessments of steel and HDPE pipelines.
Proceedings Publication Date
Herman Quakkelsteijn
Herman Quakkelsteijn
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Mud and tailing lines tend to have two things in common, firstly there is a fair amount of tough scaling to be removed and erosion is the main degradation mechanism.

In the mining industry steel and HDPE lines are both used to transport raw materials from a mine site to a processing plant, or waste product from the processing plant to a “collection area. Raw materials such as iron ore, bauxite or coal is mixed with large quantities of water to make a substance that is called mud or slurry. For example, red mud is the fine-grained residue left after alumina has been extracted from bauxite. Moving this mud through the pipeline is like constant sanding of the pipe wall which shows in particular at the bottom sections.

Within Intero we have a diverse portfolio of inspection tools, using ultrasonics which allows for inspection of ferrous and non-ferrous pipelines. Providing a robust, versatile, high-resolution and cost-effective method to inspect large diameter pipelines was recognized as a potential solution to determine if a pipeline needed to be replaced immediately or could be remediated to extend the life for a couple of years. For that, Intero utilized a Large Diameter Ultrasonic Inspection tool capable of inspecting pipelines of 20 inch to 64 inch with high resolution. Critical for success is that tool needed to cope with high-salinity water.

Utilizing a progressive cleaning campaign tough scaling was removed from the pipelines. Although some patches of scaling were remaining on the top side of the pipe, the critical part, namely from 4-8 o’clock was sufficiently clean for ultrasonic inspection.

This presentation will provide an overview a red mud pipeline cleaning program, utilization of these technologies, data processing and presentation of the results which allowed our client to defer replacing the pipeline for some years.

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