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Long-Distance Transport of Mineral Concentrate by Hydraulic Capsule Pipeline

Baha Abulnaga, P.E.
Capsule and Slurry Pipeline Research Lab

Mineral Concentrate is transported over hundreds of kilometers using slurry at a maximum volume concentration of 35%.

One method for reducing further the volume of water consists of encapsulating filtered concentrate first in plastic capsules before sending into the pipeline.

Copyright Mazdak International Inc

Concept Description

An innovative approach is offered by Splitvane Engineers Inc, to send concentrate into filled capsules through a pipeline, called Hydraulic Capsule Pipeline (HCP).

Capsules occupy 85% of the pipeline. By comparison with slurry pipelines, the capsule pipeline results in

  • important reduction of water
  • important reduction of consumed power
  • use of high pressure water pumps instead of slurry pumps up to 2500 psi
  • elimination of wear of pipeline
  • substantial simplification of maintenance
  • in case of pipeline rupture, slurry remains in sealed capsule and the only discharge
  • to the environment is water not slurry
  • capsules are re-usable or can be transported further by truck or ship to refinery or smelter

Baha Abulnaga was selected in 2019 as top winner in a competition to develop new technologies for removal of sediments from water reservoirs organized by the US Bureau of Land reclamation.

Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration (SME)