CiDRA Minerals Processing announced today that Anglo American, a global leader in mining, has selected SONARtrac® flow monitoring systems for use in critical slurry lines in their Los Bronces division mine in Chile. Anglo American’s wholly owned Los Bronces mine is a large open pit copper and molybdenum mine in central Chile, which is currently undergoing a large expansion to boost its copper production up to an average of 400,000t annually by 2011.

The ore extracted is crushed and transported in an ore slurry pipeline that is 56km long and descends 2,600m to the Las Tortolas flotation plant, where copper and molybdenum concentrates are produced. The mine also produces copper cathodes. In 2008, Los Bronces produced 236,000t of fine copper, including high purity cathodes and copper concentrate.

CiDRA’s SONARtrac flow monitoring technology is a new class of industrial flowmeter, utilizing measurement principles that are distinct from all other flowmeter technologies operating in the mining industry. It is particularly well suited to measuring difficult slurry flows in large diameter pipes such as in Anglo American’s Los Bronces concentrator plant and slurry hydrotransport pipeline. The non-intrusive system makes no contact with the slurry and can be removed and reinstalled without stopping the pipeline flow. It is able to operate on pipes with and without internal linings, and is completely insensitive to internal pressure, thus making it easy to install in the most desirable locations for flow measurements.

Anglo American’s Los Bronces mine has selected SONARtrac flow monitoring systems for use on their slurry pipeline and in their concentrator plant. The pipeline presented challenges such as very high internal pressures and rubber lining, both of which can cause problems and expense for other flow measurement technologies. The concentrator presented challenges such as highly abrasive slurry flows, which causes excessive abrasive wear for invasive type flowmeters, thus degrading their performance and eventually requiring periodic replacement with the associated costs and operational complications. The SONARtrac flow monitoring systems are not affected by these issues.

Because the SONARtrac system is non-intrusive and does not contact the abrasive slurry, there is no abrasive wear that can degrade performance and shorten the product life. The combination of these unique features was important to Anglo American’s selection of the SONARtrac technology for their critical hydrotransport slurry pipeline and in their concentrator plant.