Tag Archives: South Flank

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.”

Former BHP data strategist to lead open-pit mining equipment data specialist MaxMine

Former BHP Global Data Strategy Lead, Coert Du Plessis, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of mining technology business MaxMine.

Du Plessis commenced in the role of Chief Operating Officer of MaxMine on May 1, 2020, working with MaxMine’s management team behind the scenes over the past 12 months to successfully configure and guide MaxMine through its significant Series A funding round announced last month, the company said.

MaxMine is an automated, high-resolution data-based business reporting tool that combines advanced data acquisition technology with AI analysis to fully optimise mobile equipment and operator performance within mining and other mobile equipment-based operations, measuring performance differently and using gamification to change behaviours.

On July 1, 2021, Du Plessis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Du Plessis commenced his professional career with global consulting firm, Deloitte, moving up the ranks to become senior partner before the age of 40. He then established and led the firm’s Western Australia data analytics practice. He then moved to BHP to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies and cultivate collaborative ways of working. His scope at BHP included the design and establishment of an Innovation Mine at BHP’s Eastern Ridge operations in Western Australia, developing the BHP Dahling Industrial IoT platform, embedding next generation digital technologies at existing operations and major new capital projects – such as Jansen – and steering the final technology investment review of the South Flank iron ore project.

Du Plessis said three things ultimately convinced him to move from BHP to take up the new roles at MaxMine:

  • “One, the calibre of the existing leadership team and their adaptive business mindset; demonstrated in successfully raising growth capital in a year disrupted by COVID;
  • “Two, generating industry leading data quality and confidence in their results, an order of magnitude better than incumbent fleet management system. It means MaxMine users transition from teams arguing about the validity of data to knowing what needs to be done next; and
  • “Three, the ability to over-come digital inertia and drive technology adoption with front line operators and operational leadership teams month in and month out.”

He added: “It was inspirational to see the speed at which the MaxMine team could develop these incredible technologies and develop the unique delivery approaches whilst maintaining an incredible focus on customer value.

“MaxMine has gone further than any other technology product and service I have come across in solving the challenge of delivering consistent value for mine site operations. The quality of MaxMine’s data asset sets us apart in the industry, and we believe we can apply the same operational improvement approach that allows us to enable delivery of more tonnes of ore, to also significantly reduce CO2 tonnes expelled in mining operations. Moving beyond the growing list of CO2 reduction aspirations to reductions delivered is an outcome I deeply care about.”

MaxMine Director, Robin Schleich, who is also Dupont Sustainable Solutions’ global operations director, said: “Mining companies need, and want, to partner with true industry innovators such as MaxMine to help them navigate the ramp up in digital disruption in the industry and combat growing operational cost pressures.

“Based on the significant investment last month, it is clear MaxMine provides one of the strongest platforms to drive industry productivity and emissions transformation.”

MaxMine’s outgoing CEO, Tom Cawley, will transition to Executive Chair, focusing on adjacent business opportunities for the company and setting up the board to support the company’s growth.

Fluor celebrates BHP South Flank iron ore achievements

Days after BHP achieved “first ore” at its South Flank iron ore development in Western Australia, Fluor’s Mining & Metals business has announced its construction delivery scope has been achieved on budget and on schedule at the $3.6 billion operation.

The project is the largest iron ore processing facility ever built in Western Australia, according to Fluor.

Together with the existing Mining Area C, it will form the largest operating iron ore hub in the world – producing 145 Mt/y of iron ore, according to BHP.

The engineering firm provided engineering, procurement and construction management support on the project, which includes an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, state-of-the-art overland conveyor systems and rail-loading facilities. Construction began in July 2018.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining and Metals business, said: “It is always very gratifying and rewarding to see a project of this magnitude completed on time and on budget.

“We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with BHP from the pre-construction feasibility study to improving the project’s capital efficiency, optimising costs and schedules, and hiring indigenous and local team members. All of this was accomplished while navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Quinton Brand, BHP’s Head of Western Australia Major Projects, said: “We would like to thank the entire Fluor team from the design engineers to the fabrication and construction teams. Fluor made an important contribution to the delivery of South Flank’s first ore.”

thyssenkrupp rail-mounted stacker handed over to BHP South Flank

thyssenkrupp says it has handed over the world’s largest rail-mounted stacker to its client BHP for the South Flank iron ore development in Western Australia,

The first stacker among a “trio of giants”, ST-04 took more than three years of research and design development in six countries, and two years of significant local fabrication, construction and commissioning processes, thyssenkrupp said.

Over the next few months, it will gradually ramp up its operating capacity of 20,000 t/h.

The engineering company was awarded this contract − one of its largest ever fabrication and construction projects in Western Australia − by BHP back in late 2018.

Under the €150 million ($181 million) contract, thyssenkrupp was to supply two stackers that deposit iron ore into stockyards for loading, and a reclaimer for loading the ore onto trains for transport to Port Hedland. The machines’ capacity of 20,000 t/h made them the largest rail-mounted stackers and reclaimers in the world, according to the company.

Primero has been helping thyssenkrupp in this pursuit, carrying out pre-assembly of the machines at its Australian Marine Complex, in Henderson, Western Australia.

In BHP’s half year results to December 31 released earlier this week, it said South Flank remained on budget and on track to deliver first production by mid-2021. The company expects the operation to ramp up to 80 Mt/y of output, helping replace production from the existing Yandi mine, which is reaching the end of its economic life.

Microsoft mixed reality tech keeps BHP’s Pilbara sites on track

BHP, through the deployment of mixed reality Microsoft HoloLens technology, has managed to keep equipment inspected, serviced and maintained at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia in the face of COVID-19.

Workplace restrictions designed to keep people safe from COVID-19 mean that BHP hasn’t been able to fly people to and from its mine sites as freely as it did in the past.

To get around this issue, it has equipped people like Andrew ‘Woody’ Wood, a Mechanical Fitter with 30 years’ experience under his belt, with HoloLens 2 – a head mounted computer with a see-through display. This has allowed employees like Woody to coach his peers at site, anytime, from anywhere using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist.

Woody is instantly able to see what mechanical fitters at site can see, send them helpful documentation, videos and schematics on the fly, and even use digital ink and arrows to annotate real things in the physical world in order to help them complete tasks and inspections on remote sites, Microsoft says.

For Alex Bertram, Digital Products Manager at BHP, the rollout of the technology was accelerated by BHP’s ability to innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic, with strong support from its partnership with Microsoft.

Safety, speed and smarts

“Using mixed reality in its day-to-day operations is one of a series of innovations that BHP is undertaking to keep its people safe and its productivity up,” Microsoft says.

Dash Maintainer Tools, developed by BHP’s maintenance and innovation teams, allow front line personnel to securely collect data from machinery remotely, avoiding the potential risks associated with manually checking dials or taking readings from heavy mobile equipment such as trucks, excavators, drills and dozers.

Leveraging IoT sensors and industrial computers connected to Azure the Dash solution gets data into the hands of maintenance technicians on their smartphone or tablet, the company says.

“Productivity and safety go hand in hand and are guiding lights for BHP and its innovation efforts,” Microsoft explains. “This focus enabled the team to have the first version of Dash in the field on a 400 t excavator within 16 weeks of it being an idea on a white board.”

To keep its people, families and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, BHP introduced many rigorous measures and controls to reduce the risk of transmission.

This has included limiting numbers at its mine sites to only those required to enable safe operations; anyone who can work from home has done so.

At first, it meant that Bertram couldn’t get his team to the South Flank iron ore development to keep developing the Dash tool at the same velocity. Nor could many other experts who would typically be flown to a mine to set up new equipment, solve a problem or conduct an inspection.

Even so; “Our people on the front line are empowered to try new things to safely get on with the job”, Bertram says.

“During COVID-19, I expected the pace of innovation to slow, but we’ve seen the opposite. People really rally together and are open to trying new things to safely get the job done.”

He had already witnessed the potential of HoloLens and mixed reality, and was convinced that in combination with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist it would allow expertise to be delivered virtually to the teams still working at BHP’s Pilbara operations to support continued development of the Dash Maintainer Tools, Microsoft says.

“Given many of us were working from home due to COVID-19, the first device was delivered to my house to test and by the following week, we’d undertaken trials in our workshop environment in Perth,” Bertram says.

The team were able to test the system on real machinery at BHP’s Innovation Centre Lab, located at the Perth Repair Centre, which provides a safe and controlled environment to trial new technologies and ways of working on mining equipment.

“The following week, we ran a dry run and test at the mine, and five or six days later we supported the installation of the first prototype of Dash Maintainer Tools on a 300 t haul truck,” Bertram said. “A process like that would normally take a few months at least.”

It took less than four weeks from the HoloLens2 arriving at Bertram’s Perth home to it being used to install the first prototype of Dash tool on a Komatsu dump truck in the heart of the Pilbara, according to Microsoft.

The deployment of mixed reality technology has the potential to be rolled out more widely, and deliver safety and productivity benefits long after COVID-19 abates, Microsoft says. And there is further scope in making the physical delivery of equipment to sites more efficient.

“This technology can help us reduce the time and cost associated with regular travel, increase the speed of maintenance and new equipment deployment without compromising safety, and support greater inclusion and diversity,” Bertram said.

Having proven the HoloLens2 solution’s potential, BHP is now running further trials across its rail workshops and maintenance teams in Perth and the Pilbara, and at several other global locations in Australia, the US and Chile, according to Microsoft.

“We are seeing promising early results,” Bertram said. “If those trials are successful, we will look at how we can scale up. We are not getting ahead of ourselves, but we are well placed because the HoloLens2 solution speaks to our existing systems such as security controls, and device management.”

Aqura to keep comms and entertainment running for BHP Pilbara workers

Specialised ICT and communications provider, Aqura Technologies, has signed a multi-year service contract with BHP that will see it provide managed support for all in-room communications and entertainment system services across the miner’s accommodation villages in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Aqura, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASX-listed Veris Ltd, announced the BHP contract at the same time as reporting on a similar multi-year agreement with structures, logistics, utilities and energy company, ATCO.

“These contracts continue to demonstrate the execution of Aqura’s strategy to evolve its earnings base with the addition of recurring revenue models, which complement the business’ traditional project execution focus,” Veris said. “The new contract awards expand Aqura’s business model into new markets and evolve the business’ product offering towards a recurring opex ‘as a service’ model to its diverse customer base.”

The three-year agreement is with BHP’s Western Australian Iron Ore business unit, with the contract having already commenced, Veris said.

Karl Paganin, Veris’ Chairman, said: “Securing these contracts with blue-chip customers like BHP and ATCO reflects the continued success in delivering Aqura’s strategy of building our opex-friendly solutions. These provide flexibility for customers to engage with Aqura in a more commercially attractive manner.”

Back in August 2019, BHP opened its upgraded and expanded Mulla Mulla accommodation village (pictured) in the Pilbara, which is expected to accommodate up to 2,500 construction workers for its in-development South Flank iron ore project.

REMA TIP TOP adds more conveyor belting to Monadelphous South Flank contract

REMA TIP TOP Australia says it has been contracted by Monadelphous to install a further 24 km of conveyor belting and provide expert splicing services for the “outflows infrastructure” at BHP’s South Flank iron ore project, in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

It follows a contract to install more than 50 km of conveyor belting at South Flank that was awarded last year. Monadelphous, meanwhile, was awarded a major infrasture package for the mine build in February 2019.

The new contract is the third in a series of agreements that sees REMA TIP TOP supporting Monadelphous to deliver key infrastructure projects for the region’s largest miners.

This includes an agreement to provide splicing capabilities across more than 10 km of new overland conveyor and modifications to three existing plant conveyors at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas Deposits C & D project.

REMA TIP TOP Industry Australia CEO, Michel Ciepelinski, said: “This new contract is a testament to Monadelphous’ faith in our ability to deliver. We have demonstrated that we have both the skills and capacity to provide expert services in full conveyor solutions and this new agreement extends our successful relationship.

“Now, more than ever before, we are committed to helping Australian industry keep moving and its projects like this that are critical in ensuring our economy and the nation maintains momentum.”

The new contract will see the delivery of belt installation works across 13 conveyors, which tie into the existing BHP Mining Area C stock yard.

Primero lays foundations for world’s largest rail mounted stackers, reclaimer

Primero Group looks set to hit the June 30 deadline for the pre-assembly of two stackers and one “off-reclaim machine” for thyssenkrupp at the BHP-owned South Flank iron ore project, in Western Australia.

In an update posted today, Primero said it was nearing completion of the pre-assembly and dressing out of 24 machine modules for thyssenkrupp, with the last of these modules being “punch listed” and signed off in preparation for shipment.

The modules will complete the world’s largest rail mounted stackers and reclaimer, which are currently under construction on site in the state. thyssenkrupp said previously that the rail mounted stacker/reclaimer units will have a loading capacity of 20,000 t/h.

Primero has been carrying out the work at the Australian Marine Complex, in Henderson, south of Perth, Western Australia, with the company saying over 10 km of cable, 2 km of piping and 200 m of conveyors had been installed. The project has seen Primero reach 75,000 project hours loss time injury free, it added.

The Primero contract commenced last year and was expected to be completed in the current Australia financial year, ending June 30, 2020.

The $4.6 billion South Flank iron ore project will be one of the largest iron ore processing hubs in the world when operating. It includes an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system and rail-loading facilities. The mine will replace production from BHP’s Yandi mine, which is nearing the end of its life.

Construction began in July 2018 and first production of iron ore is anticipated in 2021.

BHP’s South Flank on course for 2021 first iron ore deadline

Fluor says BHP’s $3.6 billion South Flank iron ore project, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, is on track for first ore in 2021, with the engineering firm having erected the first 1,500 t of modules in the ore handling plant.

This construction milestone is in the critical sequence to first ore and comes after achieving 50% project completion, announced by BHP in October 2019, Fluor said.

Fluor is providing engineering, procurement and construction management services on South Flank.

In December, Mammoet said it had started transporting the first heavy components for the under-construction mine, with around 1,900 items including prefabricated and modular mine processing plant units of various sizes set to be moved from Port Hedland to the new mine site.

When operational, South Flank will be one of the largest iron ore processing hubs in the world. The project will include an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system and rail-loading facilities. The mine will replace production from BHP’s Yandi mine, which is nearing the end of its life.

South Flank engineering and procurement work is being performed from BHP’s office in Perth, with Fluor working together with BHP as an integrated project team, it said.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining and Metals business, said: “We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish with BHP on this project including our commitment to achieve diversity through the hiring of indigenous and local team members.

“The pioneering integrated team approach on this project is truly a collaborative effort. We look forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with BHP on this project and beyond.”

Richard Gerspacher, Project Director, said: “Based on the project routines and culture we’ve created, I am confident that the project will continue to proceed in a positive manner as we work towards first ore.”

Fluor previously performed the feasibility study for the project before it was awarded the follow-on construction and project management scope. Over the life of the project, it is expected that more than 9,000 people will be engaged in the South Flank work force.

Construction began in July 2018 and first production of iron ore is anticipated in 2021.

Mondelphous strengthens BHP ties in Western Australia

Monadelphous Group has secured a number of contracts across Western Australia with BHP as part of a package of construction and maintenance agreements worth circa-A$110 million ($75 million).

The news comes on top of existing maintenance and other contracts the company has previously secured with the major mining company.

These include a contract at the BHP-owned Mining Area C iron ore mine site in the Pilbara, where Monadelphous will provide upgrades to existing conveyer equipment, and power switching and stackers. Work is expected to be completed in the September quarter of 2020.

The engineering firm has also won a contract for the provision of services associated with the demolition and rehabilitation of a number of end-of-life facilities at Nelson Point in Port Hedland. This contract is expected to commence in January 2020 and will be completed in the September quarter of 2020.

Monadelphous will also carry out a 12-month extension to its existing contract with BHP’s Nickel West division for the provision of maintenance, shutdowns and off-site repair services at the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter.

Lastly with BHP, the company has been awarded a contract with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Australia) for the construction of a reclaimer and two stackers at BHP’s South Flank project in the Pilbara. thyssenkrupp has previously said these will be the largest rail mounted stacker/reclaimers in the world, with a loading capacity of 20,000 t/h.

Monadelphous’ work is expected to be completed in the March quarter of 2021.

In Queensland, meanwhile, the ASX-listed company has secured a three-year contract for the provision of general mechanical and maintenance services as part of Incitec Pivot’s scheduled turnarounds for its Queensland manufacturing facilities, it said.