The move comes following an extensive and detailed technical inspection of the 529km pipeline that carries iron ore in slurry form from the mine to the port, as well as the pre-emptive repair of certain sections of the pipeline, and receipt of the appropriate regulatory approvals.
Anglo American says that inspection by specialist pipeline inspection devices (PIGs) and analysis of data has confirmed the pipeline’s integrity.
The firm has pre-emptively replaced a 4km stretch of pipeline where two leaks of non-hazardous material had occurred, as well as a small number of individual sections of pipe where the PIGs detected minor anomalies.
In addition, Anglo American has shortened the intervals for future inspections by PIGs from five years to two years, while also fitting a fibre-optic system of acoustic, temperature and vibration sensors along critical sections of the pipeline to monitor its performance.
Mark Cutifani (pictured), chief executive of Anglo American, says: “The protection of the natural environment surrounding local communities and the overall integrity of the pipeline have formed the focus of our work to restart Minas-Rio and meet our obligations to our host communities, employees, customers and other stakeholders.
“We congratulate our team on the ground that so quickly restored the waterways to full health and put in place an improved additional water supply to the nearby community. We also thank our technical teams and the group of specialist institutions in Brazil and beyond for their diligence and spirit of partnership, and to our regulators for their constructive approach. The extensive analysis confirmed the sound condition of the pipeline and we have taken a number of preventative measures to provide additional reassurance for the long term.
“The majority of our employees have been deployed across our operations in Brazil during this year, including on the construction work required to secure our Step Three operating licence for Minas-Rio, and safety and other refresher training has been under way since early November in preparation for the restart.”