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Yelomine® Provides Easy Assembly, Rugged Performance In Heap Leach Mining Operation

The project at the El Abra copper mine in northern Chile’s Antofagasta region is focused on leach mining to extract copper from copper sulfide ore and is expected to extend the mine’s useful life by 10 years.

Relix Leach MiningChallenge

Relix Water, a Chilean engineering and systems integration company that specializes in heap leaching lixiviation processes, recommended that Freeport-McMoRan switch from HDPE pipe to 16-inch Yelomine® restrained-joint PVC pipe to simplify and speed up pipe installation.


Yelomine restrained-joint PVC pipe system, from NAPCO Pipe & Fittings, is providing an easy-to-assemble, rugged heap leach mining solution for U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s ongoing Sulfolix project at the El Abra copper mine.


By using Yelomine, Relix was able to increase the installation rate from 164 feet (50m) to 1,640 feet (500m) of pipe per day, speeding up performance by 900%.

“Working with a durable, non-corrosive pipe product in the Sulfolix project that we could install quickly is of great importance,” said Marcelo Lago, sales manager for Relix. “With the Yelomine system, our crews were able to assemble pipe joints quickly and manually, which helped us to install significantly more pipe in one day than with thermofusion. We’re very pleased with the results.”

Sulfolix is the third heap leach mining project NAPCO has done with Relix in Chile.  According to NAPCO’s Business Development Manager, there appears to be ample growth potential for heap leach mining throughout South America and the company is poised to provide restrained-joint PVC pipe solutions for future projects.    

Find out more about Yelomine®.




Open Pit Copper Mining

Project Type

Heap Leach Mining


Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

Product Used

16-inch Yelomine® Restrained Joint PVC Pipe


Rowe Drilling Company


Relix Water

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