The Impact of Corrosion on Mine Water Supply Systems

Author(s): S. Arraño, M. Ramírez, Z. Coull, R. Muñoz
Corrosion 2013, National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE), Orlando, 17-22, March 2013

Abstract

Water scarcity is one of the most important challenges for the mining industry in Northern Chile. Most of the mining operations are located in a desert climate, at high altitudes, where the main local water supply is from limited, typically low quality groundwater sources. Most of the mining activities would outlast the local water reserves, and therefore many projects have considered, and continue to develop, the use of seawater or desalinated water to supply their operations.

The natural corrosiveness of seawater or desalinated seawater impacts not only on materials selection and costs but it also affects the mine process, the system availability, safety and environmental issues, among other factors. This paper focuses on issues surrounding internal pipe corrosion of fresh water transportation systems and how the engineering design is evolving to deal with this issue in mining water supply projects.