Slurry Pipelines


Courtesy of PSI





Revision: 23 August 2006

Author: Jack Caldwell

 Table of Contents


Table of Contents. 2

Introduction. 2

Another Journey – A Distant Appointment 3

Pipeline Systems Incorporated. 5

Other Companies. 8

Software. 9

Conclusion. 10


Calculate pressure drops through pipe networks.



Maybe like me you have thankfully forgotten how to analyze flow in a pipe or how to solve the complex equations that describe a pipeline network.  No matter, these days there are computer codes and consultants standing ready to do this for us.  In this review, I take a look at some of the codes and some of the consultants.  Hope the review helps you in your mining practice. 

Another Journey – A Distant Appointment

It was an impossibly long drive for an appointment.  I left Vancouver, British Columbia Wednesday morning and arrived in time for my appointment with Steven A. Young of Pipeline Systems, Inc in Concord, California on Friday morning. 

I moved very slowly through the rain blanketing the northwest—nothing very unusual about that.  In desperate search of dry sunshine I turned inland up the Columbia River gorge and spent the night in the woods.

                                                                                       Photo: View of Columbia River Gorge

Then into those golden hills of central Oregon and the prospect of a blue sky and open roads where I could accelerate to 100 mph to pass a pesky truck.  Hence through a beautiful town where I could easily retire, Deschutes, Oregon (no pictures on the site though).

Past Mt  Shasta, surely one of the most beautiful volcanoes around—why bother with Hawaii when this is so easy to view?  The 97 through Oregon gives you views of up to fifteen volcanic cones dominating the horizon.  Probably you don’t go to Oregon because it sounds corny to say “I am going to Oregon to see the volcanoes.”  Conversely it sounds so sophisticated to say: “We went to the Big Island and saw the volcanoes.” 

Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce

Thick smoke from the innumerable forest fires blanketing the hills as I approached Concord which is not photogenic, but expensive nevertheless.  Hence to one of those office parks that are all asphalt and glass and concrete and nice cars.

Concord, CA : A part of downtown Concord

Pipeline Systems Incorporated

On an impulse I had decided to stop in to meet PSI so I could write about them, as I am doing now.  Steven Young of PSI kindly replied to my e-mail and promised to meet with me.  I was amply rewarded for the long trip by the warm welcome and long discussion I had with PSI staff. 

Steven regaled me with stories of the history of the firm—those engineers who worked with the BIG companies in San Francisco and who had the foresight and courage to found their own company.  What I saw is a testament to their efforts.

Steven told me of company growth: new offices in South America and Africa. 



I met the co-author of a grand old book on slurry pipeline design, but sadly could not persuade him to bring it up to date or to permit me to turn it into e-format for posting here.  More paper knowledge fading into the mists of time and antique book collections.  On the web you will find an e-copy of “Slurry System Handbook” by B.E. Albulnaga but you need to subscribe to access it.  Better than nothing—but then the hardcopy cost $118 and there is only one in stock.  You can also purchase the proceeding of the 1999 Conference on Slurry Handling and Pipeline Transport for one hundred British pounds.   Smart Science Solutions has a six-page list of publications on pipe flow technology.  No indication of how you access these papers.  A much better approach is to go to the Powder/Bulk Portal where there is a forum on slurry pipeline transport. 


In addition to doing nearly everything related to pipes, fluids, and mines, PSI will design your thickened tailings management system—paste tailings is the current term. 

PSI is part of the industry and is caught up in the issues that affect engineering companies in California.  Let me say only that from Concord I traveled to my daughter and grandson in Huntington Beach. 



She and her husband are both geotechnical engineers.  They get a call at least once a week from a headhunter offering higher salaries.  They get quarterly lectures from midwestern management demanding that they hire more young engineers—who could not possibly afford to live nearby.  Thus are the salary woes of California, north or south.  Thus are the development woes of consultants in this part of the country.  PSI is dealing with this by establishing new offices in the less expensive parts of the country. So maybe if you seek to work for them, they will be in an affordable place. 

Other Companies

Competitors to PSI are presumably The Paste Group, an interesting coming-together of Knight Piesold, Paterson and Cooke, and Minefill Services.  This appears to be a “marketing-coming-together”, and a valuable one to the industry.




BRASS Engineering International is a pipeline system engineering company specializing in liquid and slurry pipeline systems.  I liked their site for the list of computer codes they use.  Their clients include Amec.

Bond Consulting Engineering Inc of Saskatoon, Canada provides professional mechanical engineering services specializing in process piping system and component design.

It is difficult to tell if they service the mining industry.  No matter by answering a few questions, GIW Industries will send you a free 12-page Slurry Pipeline Design Manual.


Code CAD advertises software to calculate pipe stresses and undertake 2S and 3D piping design.  They represent Applied Flow Technology Products who advertise software for steady-state incompressible fluid network flow analysis to systems using Fathom’s analysis engine.  The fellow below is presumably impressed at the speed with which their software produces deliverables?  Maybe its time to call in PSI to solve the problem?

In Lacey, Washington is Engineered Software.  Their business appears to be founded on use of PIPE-FLO and PUMP-FLO.  There is a kind of one-on-one homeliness about this site.  Who is behind it I wonder?  Is the proper link to neotec and PIPEFLO 7?

I found this wonderful statement on a site where you can get the pipeline software:  Oakleigh Software designs and develops professional bespoke software…”  I have not previously seen the work “bespoke” applied to software.  Actually, I did not know you could use the word in this way.  An e-dictionary defines it thus in the context used here: bepoke as applied to software is software written in-house, designed specifically and customized for a particular company and task.


Hence to end: if you have knowledge of a book, paper, consultant, software, or case history that would add to this review, please let me know at