Building one of Mining's Leading Ports - Roy Hill in the Pilbara
Previously posted on Austmine.com.au
With tighter cost control on major port and marine projects, contractors are required to do more with less, which can be a tough ask when balancing project requirements against desired outcomes.
That is why design and maintenance considerations are more important than ever for cost reduction and increased efficiency. Whether it’s new-build developments or repair and maintenance initiatives, specific applications need to be strategically addressed and implemented.
Neville Kidd, Engineering Manager at McConnell Dowell, is involved in constructing the last two berths for Roy Hill’s port in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. He says that there is a shift from engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) methods to design-build applications.
“We’re seeing a subtle but gradual trend among marine asset owners, where, in an effort to more tightly control cost, demand is shying away from EPCM and shifting back towards design and construct. And material selection for design and construct projects has been dominated by structural capacity and ease of construction, ahead of durability,” he says.
In design-build projects of any scale for marine structures, asset owners need to have a thorough and objective assessment of the individual program characteristics. This paves the way for early engagement with both the designer and contractor, which will ensure that the contractor isn't hindered by re-design requirements from consultants during construction.
Part of the marine package for Roy Hill involves almost four kilometers of an overland conveyor, which is an elevated structure with its own service road – it can be compared to the features of a viaduct. The shiploader system is being supplied separately, but once it is on the wharf, it will become McConnell Dowell’s responsibility.
To enable this elevation, a pair of travelers has been employed – a piling frame system that cantilevers out with the crane for the next pile bent.
As it moves on to the next pile structure, it installs the road and conveyor module behind it. The secret to this application is not just the cantilever or the dual-traveller system, but efficient material delivery to the application.
“All access to the work fronts has to be along the newly constructed “viaducts” so all piles, headstocks, road deck units, conveyor galleries, miscellaneous plant, materials, consumables and personnel are transported along the elevated road. This way they’ll arrive at the work front only when needed and without delaying any other activities,” Neville explains.
Efficient design approval processes have played a key role in this development, due to increased collaboration with designers, managers and owners. But an interesting dynamic of the Port Hedland marine berth projects has been employment of three different design consultants over the course of the various projects, which has greatly influenced new improvements over previous designs.
Port and marine structure projects can be intense undertakings for asset owners. Early engagement with contractors in the design stage is crucial from a risk management perspective, as it will prevent obstacles that are counter-productive to delivery timeframes for construction.
Global iron ore production to recover by 5.1% in 2021
Global iron ore production fell by 3% to 2.2bnt in 2020. Global production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% to 2,663.4Mt between 2021 to 2025. The key contributors to this grow will be Brazil (6.2%), South Africa (4.1%), Australia (3.2%) and India (2.9%). Key upcoming projects expected to commence operations include South Flank in Australia (2021), Zulti in South Africa (H2 2021), Serrote Da Laje in Brazil (H2 2021) and Gudai-Darri (2022), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Declines from Brazil and India were major contributors to the reduced output in 2020. Combined production from these two countries fell from a collective 638.2Mt in 2019 to an estimated 591.1Mt in 2020. The reduced output from the iron ore giant, Vale, was the key factor behind Brazil’s reduced output, while delays in the auctioning of mines in Odisha affected India’s output in 2020.
“Miners in Australia were relatively unaffected by COVID-19 due to effective measures adopted by the Australian Government, while a speedy recovery in China led to a significant 10.4% increase in the country’s iron ore output.”
Looking ahead, the global iron ore production is expected to increase by 111.3Mt to 2,302.5Mt in 2021. Rio Tinto is expected to produce up to 340Mt of iron ore, while BHP has released production guidance of 245–255Mt, supported by the start of the Samarco project in December, which is expected to produce between 1–2Mt.The company has retained its guidance for Australian mines at 276–286Mt on a 100% basis, due to scheduled maintenance work at its ore handling plant and tie-in activity at the Area C mine and South-Flank mine.
Bajaj added: “The remaining companies are expected to produce more than 600Mt of iron ore, including FMG, whose production is expected to range between 175–180Mt supported by its Eliwana mine that commenced operations in late December 2020, and Anglo American, which is expecting to produce between 64–67Mt. Vale is expected to resume 40Mt of its production capacity, taking its overall production capacity to 350Mt in 2021, with production guidance of 315-335Mt.”