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Sergio González and Marcelo Encalada

Hatch, Chile

Stephen Daughney and Tony Vece

Hatch, Canada

Mining companies located in the arid regions of northern Chile have been encouraged to
consider new sources of water supply for their activities, motivated mainly by measured
reductions in the phreatic surface and recent government regulations introduced to preserve a
quota of groundwater and surface water for the local community and agricultural users. The
Pacific Ocean represents an obvious water supply alternative, capable of satisfying the demand
associated with the current mining operations and future expansions. This option requires
the conveyance of desalinated seawater (or untreated seawater) from the coast to the points of
use, typically covering distances of 50 to 200 km and with elevation gains of up to 4,500 m.
High pressure pumping stations and pipelines are involved. Several mines in the area currently
obtain their water in this manner and, as the water demand from the mining industry in
northern Chile increases, more and more similar systems will be installed. In this context,
selection of the materials of construction and corrosion control strategy for the pipeline is a key
design decision, not only having an impact on the capital cost for the project, but also a
significant influence on the lifecycle operating costs. Considerable energy is expended in the
transportation of the water over long distances with large changes in altitude. As corrosion
occurs, the characteristic roughness of the pipeline interior changes, leading to increased
energy consumption to overcome the frictional losses. The approach to corrosion control also
dictates the operating life expectancy and maintenance requirements for the pipeline. This
paper presents a comparative economic analysis of the impact of internal pipeline corrosion
control strategies on water conveyance systems for mining projects in northern Chile.


Water Availability and Supply Options

Mining projects in northern Chile and southern Peru are concentrated in a relatively small
geographic area where water availability is complicated by extremely low annual precipitation
and groundwater recharge rates. The current positive outlook for copper accentuates the demand
for water as existing operations seek to expand and new projects are launched. Traditionally,
water supply to mining operations has come from groundwater abstraction. However, growing
social pressures to reserve the limited groundwater resources for municipal and agricultural use
have made acquisition of Water Rights more difficult and several cases have been noted where
access to groundwater has been denied, has caused delays in project environmental permitting
or has been granted subject to lack of change in the phreatic surface [1]. Meanwhile, a study in
2006 concluded that overexploitation of the natural groundwater resource in the Copiapo Valley
has result in an annual deficit of 110 Mm3, resulting in measured drawdown in the aquifer [2].
Where Water Rights have been granted, the costs have been significant, ranging from
US$ 75,000 to US$ 225,000 for every L/s of well production [3].

Operators have initially dealt with the pressure on water supply by improving internal water use
efficiencies and enhancing water recycle. A particular focus has been increased reclaim from
tailings impoundments through implementation of paste technologies. Water supply alternatives
have also been considered, including saline groundwater aquifers and reuse of treated municipal
effluent. But, with the increasing demand forecast for water coupled with limited resource
availability and high costs for Water Rights, attention has shifted to the Pacific Ocean as a
sustainable source of water supply. The topography of the region presents a challenge to the use
of seawater or desalinated seawater. Most mining projects are located in the Andes at distances
of over 100 km from the coast. The elevation change between sea level and the project location
may be as much as 4,500 m. These physical constraints result in some unique opportunities to
optimize value in the design of pumping systems and pipelines.

Corrosion Control
The desired service life for a pipeline supplying desalinated seawater to a mining property in
Chile is frequently as much as 25 years. With the geographies encountered, it is not practical to
limit the working pressure in the pipeline such that alternatives to steel (e.g., HDPE) may be
considered. Carbon steel is normally employed because the cost for stainless steel is prohibitive.
The water supply system represents a significant investment for the mining company and
continuous water availability must be assured in order to maintain production. Thus, corrosion
prevention becomes an important factor in mitigating risk of lost production while extending
pipeline life.

Corrosion rates of 0.10-0.25 mm/yr haves been measured for carbon steel in stabilised
desalinated water [4, 5]. Much higher corrosion has been observed in cases where the reverse
osmosis permeate has not been stabilised by addition of hardness and bicarbonate alkalinity,
especially under flowing conditions [6]. Corrosion control strategies may be introduced to
further reduce the steel corrosion rate after stabilisation, achieving project cost savings. Where
corrosion is encountered, a pipeline system must incorporate an allowance of additional,
sacrificial metal equal to the rate of corrosion in order to ensure that adequate pipeline wall
thickness remains at the end of design life. A corrosion rate of ~0.20 mm/yr may not seem
significant but this translates to nearly 21,000 tonnes of extra steel over a 914.4 mm diameter,
190 km pipeline with a design life of 25 years.

The most commonplace corrosion control strategy relies on chemical corrosion inhibition.
Different suppliers offer a variety of chemical programs, ordinarily relying on phosphate
compounds, which are able to reduce, though not entirely eliminate, corrosion. As a guideline, a
reduction of the carbon steel corrosion rate to less than 0.09 mm/yr is achievable at an
incremental cost of approximately US$ 0.05 per m3 of water treated. Chemical corrosion
inhibition is recommended, even in cases where other corrosion control strategies are
implemented, as a complementary approach which will further mitigate risk and also offer
protection to downstream plant equipment after discharge of the water from the pipeline.
As corrosion occurs, pitting develops on the steel surface. Corrosion products may deposit
elsewhere in the pipeline. The result is an escalating frictional loss with time, which may exert a
significant influence on the power consumption and costs for water conveyance, particularly for
long pipelines. The relationship between frictional loss and time is seen through the decay in the
Hazen-Williams coefficient in Figure 1 (for a 200 mm steel pipe in municipal water service) [7].
The Hazen-Williams coefficient is inversely proportional to the roughness of pipe.

Hazen-Williams Roughness Coefficient, C







0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
# of Years in Service

Figure 1: Hazen-Williams coefficient for carbon steel pipe as a function of time [7]

Internal Pipeline Coatings

In long distance pipelines having a large frictional loss component for the cost of water
transmission, pipeline coatings represent an attractive corrosion control approach. Coatings
function by providing a barrier to either moisture or oxygen and, thus, preventing environmental
conditions at the metal surface that promote corrosion. Effective coatings eliminate the need for
an allowance of sacrificial pipe material to account for corrosive losses over the project
duration. Additionally, there are several families of pipeline coating products, and all will result
in a smoother surface and diminished frictional losses relative to bare carbon steel if properly
applied. A coating that is suitably qualified for the specific application will also be durable,
experiencing little deterioration to its smooth surface over a 25 year service life.

Anti-corrosion options include corrosion resistant alloy liners, fusion bonded and liquid applied
epoxy coatings and polyethylene slip-liners. Each may be favoured under specific
circumstances. However, this discussion will be limited to fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) coatings.
As an internal coating, FBE has been employed since the 1980s for corrosion prevention and
also is used to reduce hydraulic friction losses in pipelines conveying gas or liquid. A design
value Hazen-Williams coefficient of 130 is typically used for FBE coated steel although a
smooth surface equivalent to a coefficient of 150 is achievable [8, 9]. The coating provides long
term adhesion to carbon steel and ensures that the pipe is protected over a wide range of
temperatures and fluid properties.

Care must be taken to specify a particular FBE coating which is well matched with the project
conditions. Not all FBE powders will perform equally. The FBE coatings that have been
qualified for harsh duty applications (e.g., pressures in excess of 2000 m, seawater service, etc.)
will not necessarily represent the best choice in technical or economic terms for a desalinated
seawater pipeline project operating at 900 m of water pressure. It is advisable to conduct
laboratory tests, including autoclave testing at the maximum transient pipeline pressure and,
preferably, using a sample of the media to be conveyed. Laboratory testing is intended to
qualify one or more FBE products, with sets of application procedures specific to each FBE
powder, for the intended duty.

Despite best efforts, corrosion coating failures do occur [10, 11]. Selection of a coating
applicator that is experienced in the use of the particular product is critical. An experienced
consultant can assist by guiding the selection of FBE powder and coating applicator, producing
detailed coating specifications and procedures and ensuring that thorough, diligent inspections
are conducted. These actions represent the best safeguards against premature coating failure and
unsatisfactory coating system performance. Quality assurance and control through all phases of
factory coating application and field installation, including coating at the welded joints, is
paramount for a successful project outcome.

A comparison of the lifecycle water supply costs will be made between systems comprised of
bare carbon steel pipe, relying on a corrosion allowance and chemical corrosion inhibition, and
FBE coated piping material. A full capital cost estimate will not be developed for each system.
Only cost differences between the cases will be reported. Thus, the costs for chemical
stabilisation and corrosion inhibition will not be included in the present evaluation as chemical
treatment is recommended in both instances. Similarly, the civil costs of pipeline installation
will be excluded since these costs will be common to both designs.

The considerable elevation gain between the mining centres in the north of Chile and the coastal
plain requires pumping systems and pipelines for the conveyance of desalinated seawater to
operate at high pressure. It is possible to limit the working pressure in the pipeline and, thus,
reduce pipe wall thickness requirements by installation of multiple pump stations along the
pipeline route. Typically, a Net Present Cost analysis is performed to determine the lowest cost
combination resulting from various quantities of pumping stations, optimal pipeline diameter
and the resulting gross tonnages of steel pipe needed at the different operating pressures. For
systems with an altitude change of approximately 3.5 km over a pipeline length of ~200 km, a
total of 5 pump stations and a normal working pressure of roughly 900 m is generally the

Following determination of the optimal pumping system configuration and pipeline diameter,
the lifecycle costs for pipeline operation, considering costs for pipeline installation and power
consumption for water conveyance, must be developed. Power consumption will be directly
affected by the pipeline material of construction and the changes to the surface roughness as a
function of service time and corrosion. The methodology for the lifecycle cost comparison is
described as follows.

Calculations were based on a water supply system having the following key characteristics:
• Pipe diameter = 914.4 mm (36”)
• Design flow rate = 1,250 L/s
• Pipeline length = 190 km
• Pipeline elevation change = 3.3 km
Pipeline Hydraulic Design
Steady state hydraulic calculations were performed using energy balance (Bernoulli) and mass
balance (conservation) equations. The hydraulic grade line (HGL) was obtained for each section
of pipeline between pumping stations using a steady state calculation.

Friction losses were calculated according to the Hazen-Williams formula (Equation 1),
considering different roughness coefficients (C) depending on the nature of the pipe surface in
contact with the flowing liquid. For pipeline design, end-of-life roughness coefficients were
utilized. Minor losses were calculated by the equivalent length method, considering these losses
to be equal to 10% of the friction losses.

1. 85
⎛ Q ⎞
⎜ ⎟
J= ⎝ 0.278C ⎠ (1)
D 4.86

J = Friction losses
Q = Flow (m3/s)
D = Internal diameter (m)
C = Hazen-Williams roughness coefficient (see Table 1)

Table 1: Hazen-Williams Roughness Coefficients (C)

Hazen-Williams Coefficient (C)

Pipe Material
Years 0-5 Years 6-10 Years 11-25
Bare carbon steel in corrosive environment 115 100 80
FBE coated carbon steel 140 135 130

Transient Analysis
Hydraulic transient calculations were completed using the Joukowsky theoretical relationship.
The hydraulic design considers that overpressure generated in the system due to hydraulic
transients will be lower than the allowable pressure of the carbon steel pipeline. Therefore, no
adjustments to the hydraulic design have been incorporated to account for transient conditions.

Selection of Components
The ASME B31.4 Code was used for calculations of carbon steel pipe wall thickness and
maximum allowable pressures. In the case of bare carbon steel pipe, an additional allowance for
corrosion was identified, based on the assumed corrosion rate of 0.09 mm/year, which equates
to an additional thickness of 2.25 mm over 25 years. The formulas used to define the pipe wall
thickness are given by Equation 2 and Equation 3.

P× D
t= (2)
2×S × F × E

tr = A + t (3)
t = Pressure design wall thickness, ASME B31.4 (mm)
P = Internal design gauge pressure (kg/cm2)
D = Pipe outside diameter (mm)
F = Design factor based on nominal wall thickness (F = 0.72)
E = Weld joint factor, see ASME B31.4 Table 402.4.3
S = Applicable allowable stress value, see ASME B31.4 Table 402.3.1(a) (kg/cm2)
tr = Final design wall thickness (mm)
A = Corrosion allowance (A = 2.25 mm)

For this simplified cost analysis, no difference in costs for valves, fittings and flanges has been
identified. However, it must be recognized that the change in pipeline pressure attributed to the
reduction in frictional losses for FBE coated pipe may result in reclassification of these
components. ASME B16.34, ASME B16.5, ASME B16.47 and AWWA C-207 codes/standards
would be applied in a more detailed cost analysis to assess savings for valves, etc.

Energy Consumption
Pump power consumption was calculated using Equation 4.

Q× H
P= (4)

P = Pump power consumption (kW)
Q = Flow (m3/h)
H = Pump total dynamic head (m)
η = Pump efficiency

For calculation of the power cost, an electrical energy cost of US$ 0.08/kWh was employed for
the base year (Year 0). The electrical energy cost was escalated by 2.5% annually. Annual
power costs for pumping was then determined using Equation 5.

O = E × P ×t (5)

O = Annual pumping operational expenditure (US$)
E = Electrical energy cost (US$/kWh)
P = Pump power consumption (kW)
t = Annual hours of pump operation (h)

Lifecycle Cost Evaluation

Differences in the installed costs and operating costs for the bare carbon steel pipe and FBE
coated pipe alternatives were compared by computing the lifecycle cost, using Equation 6. A
discount rate of 10% was used in the analysis.

LCC = ∑ [( At ) /(1 + K ) t ] (6)
t =0
LCC = Lifecycle cost (US$)
t = Year of expense
At = Cash outflow in year t (US$)
K = Discount rate


Example Calculation
To evaluate the potential lifecycle cost benefits that may derive from the selection of corrosion
control strategy, two alternative system configurations were compared. These alternatives were
a bare steel pipeline with an additional thickness of steel (2.25 mm) as a corrosion allowance
and a carbon steel pipeline protected internally with a fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) coating.

In both cases, water supply systems consisting of five (5) high pressure pumping stations and
one 914.4 mm diameter carbon steel pipeline were designed. Each high pressure pumping
station (HPPS) will be composed of five split case multi-stage horizontal centrifugal pumps,
each with an individual capacity of 250 L/s, to deliver desalinated water from a hypothetical
desalination plant to the project location at a combined flow rate of 1,250 L/s.

Pipeline Design Summary

Actual survey information was used to develop a conceptual pipeline route for conveyance of
desalinated water over a distance of approximately 190 km to a mining operation situated at
~3,300 m above sea level. Required length of pipe was adjusted to include a 3% supply
contingency and rounded to the nearest whole number of pipes, using an individual pipe length
of 6 m. The following tables summarize the characteristics of the water supply system design
for both corrosion control options.

Table 2: Pumping System Configuration for Bare Pipe Alternative

Pipeline Pipeline Stretch HPPS Flow Pump Safety Pump Number HPPS Total
Pumping Start Finish TDH Efficiency Factor Power of Power
Station (m) (m) (m) (m3/s) (%) (kW) Pumps (kW)
HPPS 1 0 38,072 1037.1 1.25 86% 1.15 3,401 5 17,004
HPPS 2 38,072 102,513 1037.1 1.25 86% 1.15 3,401 5 17,004
HPPS 3 102,513 138,488 1037.1 1.25 86% 1.15 3,401 5 17,005
HPPS 4 138,488 155,196 1037.1 1.25 86% 1.15 3,401 5 17,004
HPPS 5 155,196 188,193 1037.1 1.25 86% 1.15 3,401 5 17,004

Table 3: Carbon Steel Pipe Requirement for Bare Pipe Alternative

Pipe Pipe Pipe Pipe Pipe Pipe

Type Diameter Thickness Unit Weight Supply Supply
(mm) (mm) (kg/m) (m) (kg)
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 20.6 453.84 33,900 15,385,176
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 17.5 386.88 19,308 7,469,879
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 15.9 352.14 35,868 12,630,558
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 12.7 282.27 36,336 10,256,563
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 9.5 211.90 47,016 9,962,690
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 6.4 143.24 21,600 3,093,984
TOTAL 194,028 58,798,850
Table 4: Pumping System Configuration for FBE Coated Pipe Alternative

Pipeline Pipeline Stretch HPPS Flow Pump Safety Pump Number HPPS Total
Pumping Start Finish TDH Efficiency Factor Power Of Power
Station (m) (m) (m) (m3/s) (%) (kW) Pumps (kW)
HPPS 1 0 37,985 817.5 1.25 86% 1.15 2,681 5 13,404
HPPS 2 37,985 110,658 817.5 1.25 86% 1.15 2,681 5 13,404
HPPS 3 110,658 142,165 817.5 1.25 86% 1.15 2,681 5 13,404
HPPS 4 142,165 155,645 817.5 1.25 86% 1.15 2,681 5 13,404
HPPS 5 155,645 188,193 817.4 1.25 86% 1.15 2,681 5 13,403

Table 5: Carbon Steel Pipe Requirement for FBE Coated Pipe Alternative

Pipe Pipe Pipe Pipe Pipe Pipe

Type Diameter Thickness Unit Weight Supply Supply
(mm) (mm) (kg/m) (m) (kg)
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 14.3 317.27 38,640 12,259,313
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 12.7 282.27 32,556 9,189,582
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 10.3 229.54 30,168 6,924,763
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 7.9 176.52 15,492 2,734,648
API 5L X60 PSL2 914.4 6.4 143.24 77,136 11,048,961
TOTAL 193,992 42,157,267

Lifecycle Cost Comparison

The lifecycle costs for bare steel pipe and FBE coated pipe are summarized in Table 6 based on
differences in capital cost and annual power consumption, which are presented in Table 7 and
Table 8, respectively. The cost disparity for pumps, motors, valves, fittings and flanges has not
been determined for this simplified exercise. The capital cost determination relies on unit costs
of US$ 2/kg for steel pipe and US$ 125/m for FBE coating. A factor-based method has been
applied for cost estimation, using 10% of the steel pipe cost for freight and 15% for installation.
Installation, in this instance, relates mainly to welding and excludes civil and other costs which
are equal in both alternatives. A further 10% factor has been added for FBE coated pipe to
represent extra freight charges, field repairs to the FBE coating and welded joint coating. The
unit cost for energy has been escalated by 2.5% annually from a base cost of US$ 0.08/kWh.

Table 6: Lifecycle Cost Comparison for Water Supply Alternatives

Cost (US$)
Bare Pipe FBE Coated Pipe
Capital cost (partial) 146,997,000 138,074,000
NPC for power cost 453,870,000 383,990,000
TOTAL 600,867,000 522,064,000

Table 7: Differences in Capital Cost for Water Supply Alternatives

Cost (US$)
Bare Pipe FBE Coated Pipe
Carbon steel pipe supply 117,597,700 84,314,536
Freight (10%) 11,759,770 8,431,454
Pipe installation (15%) 17,639,655 12,647,180
Additional FBE costs (10%) 0 8,431,454
FBE coating 0 24,249,000
TOTAL 146,997,125 138,073,624
Table 8: Power Consumption Cost Comparison for Water Supply Alternatives
Energy Cost (MUS$)
Year Cost
(US$/kWh) Bare Pipe FBE Coated Pipe
0 0.080 40.39 36.63
1 0.082 41.40 37.54
2 0.084 42.43 38.48
3 0.086 43.49 39.44
4 0.088 44.58 40.43
5 0.091 45.70 41.44
6 0.093 55.61 48.16
7 0.095 57.00 49.36
8 0.097 58.43 50.60
9 0.100 59.89 51.86
10 0.102 61.39 53.16
11 0.105 78.18 61.62
12 0.108 80.13 63.16
13 0.110 82.14 64.74
14 0.113 84.19 66.36
15 0.116 86.29 68.02
16 0.119 88.45 69.72
17 0.122 90.66 71.46
18 0.125 92.93 73.25
19 0.128 95.25 75.08
20 0.131 97.63 76.96
21 0.134 100.07 78.88
22 0.138 102.58 80.86
23 0.141 105.14 82.88
24 0.145 107.77 84.95
25 0.148 110.46 87.07
Net Present Cost* 453.87 383.99
*Note: Power costs were converted to a Net Present Cost using a 10% discount rate

Chilean and Peruvian mining operations are being encouraged to consider desalinated seawater
as an option for raw water supply. The water supply system, connecting the desalination plant at
the coast and the project location, must be designed to account for significant change in
elevation and frictional losses associated with water conveyance over distances of typically
more than 100 km. Consequently, the system is required to operate at high pressures.

The water supply system is a critical element that must be maintained in order to sustain mine
production. Management of pipeline corrosion is an important aspect of the overall design and
maintenance plan. A variety of corrosion control alternatives exist, and these should be
evaluated to identify the specific option which represents best value to a project in terms of
lifecycle cost. Relative to carbon steel, pipe coatings may provide a smoother internal pipe
surface and reduced losses due to friction. Thus, the power consumption for the water supply
pumping system may be lowered. Savings may also be realised by avoidance of the need to add
extra steel to the pipe wall thickness as a corrosion allowance.

A specific example was evaluated, comparing lifecycle cost for a 25 year project duration
between bare carbon steel pipe with an internal sacrificial layer and a design incorporating FBE
coating for corrosion control. The calculations demonstrated that the costs for FBE coating may
be more than offset by the additional costs for steel in the bare pipe scenario. Further cost
reductions would be anticipated for mechanical equipment, valves and fittings with the FBE
coating alternative. The FBE coated pipe scenario is also beneficial in terms of power
consumed, offering a Net Present Cost for power supply that is ~85% of the power cost for the
bare pipe option. The overall reduction in lifecycle cost attributed to FBE coating is roughly
US$ 80 million for the case that was examined. Trade-off studies to evaluate alternatives and
select an optimal corrosion control strategy are easily justified by the potential project lifecycle
cost savings.


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