Choosing the Right Distribution Piping for Your Leach Mining System

Joey MezistranoDrip Irrigation Industry, Mining Solutions

benefits of using lay flat in leach mining

Today, let’s discuss your piping options for delivery of solution from the main header pipe to the top of the leach pads and further distribution to the individual leach cells. Depending on the environmental conditions each leach mining operation has 3 main piping options to choose from, HDPE, PVC and flexible PVC Lay-Flat Hose.

Most leach mining operations around the world are already use HDPE and PVC rigid piping for their excellent corrosion resistance and long-lasting characteristics. HDPE is more widely used for its “universal properties”, such as flexibility, UV resistance, and its application for a wide range of temperatures. But, there are a number of benefits to using flexible PVC Lay-Flat hose for the delivery of your leach mining solution that not many people are aware of.

The Benefits of Lay-Flat Hose in Leach Mining

Lay-Flat hose is made of a flexible PVC resin, extruded with simultaneous insertion of a 3-ply Polyester Yarn in between the inner and outer layers of PVC. This type of construction guarantees maximum tensile strength, yet the flexibility to roll up into a flat coil for ease of transport and storage. Lay-Flat hoses come in various diameters from 2” (50mm) and up to 8” (200mm), as well as various pressure ratings from PN2 to PN16. In addition to ease of transport.

leach mining solution delivery pipe

Leach Mining Operation

Lay-Flat Ease of Use

Another big advantage over the typical rigid pipes is the method of connecting two segments of coil or connecting to valves and fittings via a specially designed barb connection fittings. The Lay-Flat hose is fitted over the barbed fitting and is fixated in place by a stainless steel clamp – that is tightened by a regular spanner wrench. This connection process is extremely fast and easy – takes less than a minute, when in comparison to HDPE butt welding or rigid PVC spigot end to end gluing.

Lay-Flat Hose vs HDPE Pipe

It may be obvious that due to the limited diameter availability of Lay-Flat, an operation which requires persay a 16” (400mm) pipe diameter to convey the required volume of solution will choose to install HDPE pipe, a single line that at first may seem like an obvious solution. However, let’s analyze the requirements in order to install such diameter pipe and the alternative solution of using Lay-Flat.

DN400 HDPE SDR17 Pipe:

  • Pressure Rating: PN10
  • Weight: 28kg/linear meter
  • Section Length: 11.9 meters
  • Butt-weld time: 25 minutes (subject to change due to cooling times)

Required to install a 1000 meter section of HDPE pipe:

  • 84 sections of pipe
  • Total weight 1000 x 28 = 28,000 kg (requires a crane)
  • Weld time approximately 35 hours, plus time to move and put in place individual sections prior to butt-welding. Additional time for pressure / leakage testing.

DN150 DRTS’ “Green Series” Lay-Flat Hose:

In order to meet the flow volume of a DN400 pipe, we can alternatively use 6 separate DN150 DRTS’ “Green Series” Lay-Flat hose, they would be connected to the main feed pipe via a 1 to 6 distribution manifold (HDPE or Carbon Steel):

  • Pressure Rating: PN6
  • Weight: 150kg/100 meter coil
  • Section Length: 100 meter coil
  • Connection Time: 2 minutes per LF Barb x LF Barb joint

DRTS Green Series Lay Flat

Required to install a 1000 meter section of lay-flat hose:

  • 84 sections of pipe
  • 10 coils per span, with a total of 6 parallel spans for a total of 60 coils
  • Total weight of the 60 coils 150 x 60 = 9,000 kg (each coil weighs 150kg and can be transported by 3 persons to location, then rolled out by 1 person. Does not require a crane or any other heavy equipment)
  •  Connection time would be 10 joints x 2 minutes for a total of 20 minutes per span.
  • Total for 6 spans is 120 minutes or 2 hours.
Comparing the Two Side by Side
Sample – 1000m Span Installation DN150 Lay-flat Hose “Green Series” DN400 HDPE SDR11 (11.9m sticks)
Quantity of Units: 60 each (100 meter coils) 84 each 11.9 meter sticks
Total Weight: 9,000kg 28,000kg
Installation Time: 2 hours 35 hours + pressure / leakage testing
Transport Requirements: None Crane
Lay-Flat is the clear winner
DRTS Leach Mining Project Solutions

If you would like to learn about additional benefits of using Lay-Flat hose over the traditional HDPE or PVC rigid piping as well as learn about our full range of leach mining services feel free to reach out to us here!

DRTS offers turnkey solutions for all leach mining projects, from project design and accessories to specialized uncloggable mining drippers we are a one stop shop for all of your leach mining needs.


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