The Dead Sea, located in the Jordan Rift Valley of Israel, is 9.6 times saltier than the ocean, and also known for its high salinity.
The high salinity of brine and the water evaporation creates a constant build-up of salt crystals which requires to be removed. These rough crystal formations are highly abrasive and corrosive. The high temperatures of the area makes material selection more challenging. The salt slurry properties were so harsh that the dredging operators found it necessary to replace their original pipeline every three months due to wear related failures. Before turning to Pexgol, our client tried a number of alternative piping solutions without success:
- Rubber pipes – which proved to be easily damaged by the severe weather conditions and harsh abrasion. This required expensive replacement and maintenance.
- Steel pipes – which were also shown to be easily damaged by the tough climate. In addition, the pipelines weren’t flexible enough, and salt accumulated inside the pipe, causing backup, clogging and low performance.
- HDPE pipes – which did not survive the abrasion of the coarse environment, and as a result, endured a very short lifetime.
Moa Nickel required to transport a big amount of overflow acid water from the sedimentation tanks to the slurry thickeners plant. This overflow water substituted the reposition water that the slurry thickeners used.
The client debated regarding the use of a stainless steel pipe SS316L or thermoplastic flexible materials such as HDPE and polyethylene.
The highly concentrated brine and temperature of the hot leach cycle: up to 114°C/237°F at the Dead Sea created a highly corrosive environment, which reduced the life of the original pipes dramatically. Working conditions were so extreme that lifespan of the previous steel piping was only 8-12 months.