Tag Archives: equipment transport

Mammoet delivers the goods at BHP’s South Flank iron ore mine

Mammoet has helped BHP deliver on its goals for the South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara of Western Australia, using its expertise to transport over 1,000 oversized items to site safely and on time.

These components needed to be transported to site safely, on schedule and in the right sequence. With a cumulative weight in excess of 29,500 t, they needed to be transported 340 km across the state’s barren interior. This had to be done within a demanding timeframe to keep the construction schedule on track, according to Mammoet, a feat achieved and confirmed with the first ore milestone at South Flank in May of this year.

The cargo would be taken from the ship’s hook at Port Hedland and across a route largely consisting of public highways. Transporting these modules in the largest possible pieces would reduce the time spent integrating them on site – but the maximum transport size is always limited by the width and condition of the route, Mammoet says.

The possibilities for what could be transported on this stretch of tarmac were pushed to new limits as Mammoet delivered a 349 t module comprising the train load out bin gate and HPU module. This was the heaviest load ever carried along this stretch of Western Australia’s Great Northern Highway.

Restrictions were also placed on when modules could be transported, which varied depending on their size: those wider than 8.5 m needed to travel at night, so that the transport had the lowest economic impact on the surrounding community and public road users. A rolling roadblock was set up to shut down the highway in sections, minimising the transport’s impact further still.

To achieve this required logistics planning and early engagement with the project’s construction contractors to identify precisely what could be transported and how.

Pete O’Connell, Senior Project Manager at Mammoet, explains: “Engagement at the planning stage with engineering, procurement and construction contractors can help to optimise how our package of work integrates with other workflows. It was particularly critical in this case – given the size and volume of components that needed to be on site in a specific order and timeframe for construction to proceed smoothly.

“We were able to advise the modularisation engineers on how to get maximum benefit from the load sizes possible on the route, in terms of their overall dimensions and the maximum weights to cross structures such as bridges. We were then able to plan from the very start the equipment and expertise we would need to best carry out the work.”

Mammoet used a specially-built trailer type to minimise the weight of the transport equipment itself and, therefore, increase the size of module that could be carried. Overall weight limitations on Australian highways meant a lighter alternative to the traditionally used four-file platform trailer was needed to avoid reducing the size of the modules themselves.

Smaller module sizes, of course, mean more transportation – and, in turn, additional transport and integration costs. Mammoet’s equipment inventory was put to good use in devising a three-file trailer solution. This allowed the desired size of module to be transported within local regulations.

Delivery of such a large scale of transport work was already a significant challenge within the planned 15-month timescale, but, due to delays earlier in the project schedule, this cargo needed to be transported in a shorter timeframe, according to Mammoet.

Despite ongoing travel restrictions due to COVID-19, Mammoet was able to mobilise a team of over 90 people – half of whom came from outside the state or abroad. Before long, crews were working across day and night shifts at Port Hedland, keeping things on schedule.

Another important part of this solution was to increase the number of trailers being used, avoiding the need for them to be reconfigured between journeys, hence achieving a faster turnaround. With the industry’s biggest equipment fleet, Mammoet says it was able to redeploy trailers from across Australia and the wider region.

O’Connell continues: “Flexibility is always key in large projects such as this, as changes in project schedules are to be expected. As the largest supplier in our industry, the talent pool, training capabilities and equipment inventory that we have access to prove invaluable in making sure we can react quickly and adapt to client requirements – avoiding delays even if there is a change to the plan.”

A key development in driving economic growth for the Pilbara region and the State of Western Australia, BHP’s $3.6 billion South Flank mine has created more than 2,500 construction jobs and 600 ongoing operational roles. It is set to provide a profitable asset for BHP and secure employment for the Pilbara population for decades to come, Mammoet says.

Wouter Mink, Managing Director of Mammoet Australia, says: “We are delighted that South Flank delivered first ore during May 2021. This project helps to continue our commitment to the Pilbara region. The transport package was always going to play a key role in achieving this, and we were extremely pleased to have delivered this successfully despite the challenges we faced – including a global pandemic impacting on how, when and where we could source our team.”

Construction of this facility using modern modularised techniques was aided significantly by Mammoet’s expertise in getting over 1,000 oversized items to site safely and on time, and also by providing critical guidance to optimise the size of cargo and ensure the most efficient project.

Heath Tyler, BHP South Flank Area Project Manager, says: “The South Flank project represents a major investment by BHP and a key element in our strategy for the region. With the transport package playing such a critical part in achieving a successful build, we needed a partner that had the proven expertise, equipment and boots on the ground to deliver. Mammoet has proven a great fit for these criteria.”

Liebherr-Mining cuts emissions, costs with new equipment transport route

Each year, about 1,000 so-called “exceptional” trucks are needed to transport the mining machines assembled by Liebherr-Mining Equipment Colmar SAS to the Belgian seaports to join mine sites around the world in the likes of Australia, Africa and Asia.

In June 2019, the company challenged itself to shift the pre-haulage to the seaports from road to river and, after 18 months of experimentation, the ecological and economical results have proven very positive, with the company deciding to pursue its efforts.

Before starting this project, Liebherr-Mining conducted an in-depth study on the modal shift, 50% financed by Voies Navigables de France (VNF – Inland waterway association) Strasbourg and with the help of an international consulting company. This funding is part of PARM (assistance plan for modal shifts) piloted by VNF and intended to support companies wishing to move to river transport.

Established in Colmar for almost 60 years, the company decided to contribute to the development and competitiveness of the region by working with local firms. Thus, the pre-haulage from the factory to the Rhine port was entrusted to the two Alsatian carriers Straumann (Colmar) and Wack (Obernai and Drulingen). The barging company is Haeger & Schmidt Logistics.

One of the first positive aspects of river transport is the reduction of environmental footprint. For the same amount of goods transported, a barge will consume three to four times less energy than a truck and emit up to five times less CO2, the company claims

By reducing road traffic, noise pollution is also reduced because river transport is a quieter mode of transport.

Over the 18 month trial, Liebherr-Mining Equipment Colmar shipped 148 machines/1,600 packages, or 27,000 t, spread over 60 barges. For the environment, this represented a saving of 800,000 km on the road and 868,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

River transportation comes with numerous other advantages. With an almost zero accident rate, the river is a safe mode of transport – the absence of traffic saturation and the presence of loading software guarantee the perfect stability of the boats, Liebherr says.

In terms of deadlines, a machine ready for dispatch on Friday morning can be at the seaport (Antwerp or Zeebrugge) on Monday morning. For many types of goods, if the flow is industrialised and if the company commits to a forecast volume, river transport is also a less expensive solution. Liebherr in Colmar was able to save money thanks to river transport.

This pre-haulage strategy initiated by the mining division has opened up a new path in the Liebherr Group. Other factories in the group are now studying the possibility of following the same path, the company says.

ALE does the heavy lifting at South Africa coal operation

ALE recently helped a South Africa coal operation relocate an excavator from one cut to the next as part of the mine plan.

The face shovel excavator required transportation from Kromdraai Colliery in Mpumalanga Province to a new cut in nearby Emalahleni. ALE was able to mobilise at short notice and provide equipment well-suited to a fragile road surface and critical bridge structures, it said.

ALE received the 552 t Terex O&K RH340 face shovel machine from the client at a designated spot on site. A tracked vehicle, it is capable of crawling between different cuts on site by itself. It is, however, not capable of crawling any great distances between sites or on public roads.

The transportation involved splitting the machine into two primary pieces for transportation: the 291.5 t main machine and the 207.9 t undercarriage. ALE used a four-point lifting system methodology for the splitting procedure, which offered “increased stability over crane-based approaches and was less susceptible to sourcing issues”, it said.

“It was the first time the client had attempted to split any of their machines with this methodology,” ALE said.

The main machine and undercarriage were first decoupled before the former was attached to the four-point lifting system, which was raised to a total height of 8.1 m. “This provided the necessary clearance for the tracks, which were self-propulsive, to be driven out from underneath the suspended main machine,” the company said.

With its ability to strategically deploy equipment around the world, ALE deployed a Goldhofer THP/SL 22-axle trailer for this project. “At 37.8 m length and 4.3 m width, with 1.8 m axle spacing, it was sizeable, however, smaller trailers would not have been able to cross over the critical bridge structures on the route,” ALE said.

The trailer – attached to two prime movers at the front of the trailer and one to the rear each with 28 t ballast – set off along its 25.4 km route. Besides ground pressure, the route had been analysed in advance to make sure its vertical radii didn’t exceed the navigable parameters of the 77.1 m long convoy, the company said.

Arrangements had also been made in advance with a local steel smelting plant, such that high-voltage power lines could be switched off for a small window of time, allowing the machine to pass.

Upon reaching the Emalahleni site, the main machine was staged off onto four stools lined by two 7 m header beams at a height of 1.6 m. The team then returned for the 207.9 t undercarriage, which was lifted by the same four-point lifting system to a clearance of 1.63 m, then transported using the same equipment configuration.

The face shovel was then reattached by the client after its undercarriage was manoeuvred underneath the waiting main machine. It is now at work on site.