The Oaky Creek raw water pipeline is an 8 km/5 mile-long pipeline consisting of 400mm/16” PN12.5 and PN10 HDPE piping. A critical line for the successful and safe operations of the mine, the raw water pipeline transports process water from the mine site catchment areas to the reverse osmosis plant. Leaks or failures of the pipeline could create a critical situation where a shut-down of mine operations could occur. Therefore, joint integrity was a paramount concern.
Due to the harsh environment of the region (reaching temperatures over 50°C/120°F), previously installed HDPE water pipelines have experienced ongoing failures. With a goal of ongoing improvement, Oaky Creek sought a solution boasting high-quality joints with a reduced risk of failure in extreme weather conditions.
With a long, proven history of mechanical pipe joining, Victaulic products were chosen to be installed throughout the length of the pipeline. The Style 908 coupling provided a mechanical joint designed and tested to withstand the required end-loads and thermal movement of the system. Pipes were pre-fabricated and grooved off-site, allowing for QA procedures to be completed on every pipe. The system has been installed and commissioned with a 100% joint success rate and zero leaks reported.
The proven value of reduced installation time of the mechanical joint was evident on site. The crew was able to completely install each Style 908 coupling in just 10 minutes. The use of Style 908 couplings resulted in a time savings of 55% – reducing days required from 80 days for fusing down to 35 days for coupling installation. The pipeline became functional 45 days earlier than expected, allowing the site to begin pumping water immediately.
The 80-day schedule for fusing the pipeline was estimated under ideal conditions. Inclement weather or other delays would have pushed back the schedule even further. With the Refuse-to-Fuse system, Style 908 couplings were installed rain or shine at any temperature without the need for special tents, screens, or additional cool-down time. In addition, no specialist poly-welders or certified fusion experts were required – Style 908 mechanical couplings can be installed with minimal training.