Re-A-Lined25 Nov - 22 Jan
This competition has finished.
An iron ore mine located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia is experiencing ageing of a process water dam liner. The dam liner is 1.5mm high-density polyethylene (HDPE) underlain by geotextile and the mining company is looking for solutions to retain functionality of the dam.
The 100 ML dam is used to retain and circulate water required for iron ore processing, with inflows/outflows averaging around 15 ML/ hour. The dam was constructed partially above and partially below natural ground level, with an embankment constructed from compacted fill.
Testing conducted on the HDPE liner determined the liner was ageing at an accelerated rate.
Additional data & information is available after registering for the competition.
The accelerated ageing of the HDPE liner was identified as being due to an outdated liner resin formulation and exposure to the high-temperature and high-UV Pilbara conditions.
The liner is currently intact, but over time the mechanical properties of the liner will degrade, and it may become prone to cracking. This will impact the liner’s ability to retain water. The company has implemented various strategies to manage the risks due to liner ageing but is seeking a long-term strategy to contain process water in the dam.
The options presented to date consist of relining the dam or constructing a new dam. These options are not preferred as relining the dam requires extensive plant downtime and the construction of a new dam is expensive and will require complex tie-in work.
The challenge is to propose a solution that will ensure the dam contains water. The solution shouldn’t require extensive plant downtime, or the construction of a new dam.
The solution is anticipated to be one of the following:
A permanent solution that prevents the dam from leaking for the remaining life of the mine (20 years)
An interim solution which delays the requirement for relining the dam or constructing a new dam
A solution to “patch” cracks and/or tears in the liner
The solution will need to address the following:
Seepage from the dam must be kept as low as practicable. As the process water is of a relatively high quality, some level of seepage is deemed acceptable. Seepage rates shall be quantifiable so that groundwater/environmental impacts can be determined and managed
Solutions should be implemented while the dam is operational and/or during planned maintenance outages of 108 hours
There should be a way to confirm the solution works as intended, including confirmation of the longevity of the solution.
Barriers to a solution include:
The dam is required for operation of the processing plant
During plant operation, dam levels must be retained above the 70% level due to suction pump operational requirements
Silt build-up in the dam. There is approx. 1m of silt build-up across the dam floor
Access around the dam – there is significant infrastructure around the North, East and South sides of the dam as well as monitoring bores and pipes on the dam crest
The sponsor company has provided a wide range of data for entrants to the competition. This data includes
3D As-built survey
To view this data, register for the competition using the Register Now button.
This competition is ideal for companies with existing or developing technologies and innovators with novel design ideas that could solve the problem.
The opportunity cost of the improvement could be in the order of $10 million – the cost of building a new dam.
Companies (startups or small-to-medium enterprises) and innovators who participate in this challenge will have the opportunity to:
Gain exposure within the sponsor company – your company, technology and proposed solution will be viewed by management involved in the assessment of all submissions including the operations and technology teams.
Connect with the sponsor company’s leaders – companies and innovators who are selected and short-listed based on their proposal will be invited to a private forum hosted by the mining company. In this forum, management will provide further details on the current operational landscape for your solution. You will have the opportunity to meet the team for deeper engagement and to discuss your proposed solution and its contribution to the challenge.
Win the opportunity to co-develop your solution and trial your technology inside the sponsor company – while we cannot make a binding commitment, the goal of this challenge is to identify potential technology companies as partners who can support the co-creation of a solution that is ’fit-for-purpose’ and able to be piloted at the mine site.
Win a new customer
To avoid bias towards known solutions and approaches, and to encourage a wide range of submissions, the assessment criteria has been kept broad and high-level. However, submissions that recognise and address the problem most effectively will have a higher chance of success. Also, make sure that your submission addresses its own potential shortfalls.
For example: If you have an existing product in the market which meets the requirements and has existing customers, you may want to demonstrate a case study, while a team proposing a custom build should focus on demonstrating their capabilities to build and enterprise-ready solution. If you are submitting an idea focusing on one part of this challenge, think about how it would integrate.
A successful solution will:
Control seepage from the dam
Where possible, be implemented during plant operations or during scheduled maintenance shut windows
Manage risks to the dam due to implementation of the solution e.g. use of equipment which could damage the liner, or use of chemicals which adversely impact water quality in the dam
Consider health, safety and environmental objectives
Submissions need to contain:
A presentation deck (in PDF format) describing your solution
A completed application form, plus a 2-minute video
You may also like to use more creative ways to explain your solution, such as mock-ups. To include these, you have the option of adding a weblink in addition to your uploaded presentation deck.
Your submission will be treated as confidential and will only be visible to the Sponsor Company and the Unearthed team.