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Hay Point Coal Terminal, Australia

The making of the world’s most efficient coal export centre

Aurecon’s innovative design expanded the outloading bulk materials handling system and bolstered the facility’s ability to withstand significant weather events, protecting the longevity of the terminal and minimising disruption to the supply chain.

Hay Point Coal Terminal is the most efficient and one of the largest in the world – its latest expansion cementing Queensland’s reputation for sophisticated resources management. The most significant outcome of the third expansion was the increase in nameplate throughput capacity from 44 million to 55 million tonnes every year without adding to the existing stockpile footprint.

At the time of the berth opening, the Daily Mercury reported Mike Henry, President Operations, Mineral Australia at BHP as saying, “Importantly, the increased capacity at Hay Point will enhance our ability to run an even more productive value chain. The port is a key part of the BMA supply chain. Through its design features, the project has also improved the port's ability to withstand significant weather events.”

Innovative design expands outloading bulk materials handling system

Aurecon’s innovative design expanded the outloading bulk materials handling system - including a new berth and ship-loader, replacement of the existing jetty, a 2 km trestle with linking conveyors and surge bins, and high capacity roadway.

This ambitious undertaking was planned and designed with minimal impact to ongoing operations. Six years in the making and absorbing more than 12.6 million work hours through the construction phase, more than 250 engineering staff from Australia were involved during the peak design period, including support to work undertaken in China, Korea and on site in Mackay.

“The understanding that our engineering team has of the terminal allowed us to plan ahead for the shutdown and tie-in sequence of the works. As a testament to this understanding, the same planned sequence was executed without modification some four years after it was first developed,” noted Steve Buchanan, Major Project Director at Aurecon.

“Ultimately, it’s about bringing an integrated understanding of facility design and port operations, which allows us to find the most effective approach to meet our clients’ needs,” added Aurecon’s Ports, Marine & Industrial Structures Leader Arne Nilsen.

A tight construction market required an out of the box solution to reduce the cost of materials, on-site construction costs and delivery time.

Modularisation delivers commercial benefits

“Modularisation itself is not a new concept to the industry but has never been implemented at this scale. We fabricated the five transfer towers and two surge bins in China, which were essentially fitted out as whole buildings – around eight stories high (up to 30 m x 30 m x 43 m) – then transported them in specially designed cradles to Australia by ship,” commented Steve Buchanan.

All 260 conveyor galleries (typically 24 m each in length), and 275 m of offshore wharf segments were also fabricated in China and the 1,400 tonne shiploader was fabricated in South Korea. To ensure design integrity, consistency and compliance the modules not only had to adhere to required standards but had to take into account Chinese and Korean weather conditions during fabrication, including sub-zero temperatures and snow as well as site conditions in Queensland, such as cyclones.

Designing resilient infrastructure

With climate change impacting our understanding of extreme weather events, another key outcome of the expansion was to bolster the facility’s ability to withstand the Queensland coast’s exposure to cyclones, protecting the longevity of the terminal and minimising disruption to the supply chain.

The design team brought their digital engineering expertise to the fore by first re-defining the existing understanding of extreme weather events. To do this, they created new design criteria combining numerical and physical modelling to test the seawall, reclamation and offshore structures with physical wave modelling, and also advanced wind tunnel testing. The data gathered has informed a 50-year design life and provides a high level of confidence that the terminal will continue to positively impact the Queensland economy for decades to come.

This project demonstrates leading civil, structural, marine, mechanical, electrical and control system infrastructure and architecture which brought it all together.

The engineering, planning and environmental services for this project were delivered by Aurecon in joint venture with Hatch.

Award winning

The project has won the following awards:

  • High Commendation (in joint venture with Hatch) (Resource Development): Engineers Australia Engineering Excellence Awards, Queensland Division (2016)
  • Port/Terminal of the Year – Australia/New Zealand: Global Ports Forum (2017)
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