Perth-based miner IronClad Mining claims to have successfully trialled a system loading ore onto ships without the need for deep sea ports.
The company has been investigating the viability of loading containerised iron ore onto offshore vessels using barges – instead of loading directly onto ships in the harbour.
IronClad is developing its Wilcherry Hill project in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula with plans to export through the Lucky Bay port.
Its intention to load ore offshore was given a boost when the South Australian Government approved its proposal to reduce the distance its ship sat offshore from 10 nautical miles to seven; which IronClad said reduced transport and shipment costs.
IronClad conceded individual technologies were in common use all over the world, but claimed it was the first to combine them into one seamless operation.
“It has become intellectual property that has already attracted the attention of other companies,” chief executive Robert Mencel said.
“(We) believe it has the potential to revolutionise the loading of some bulk commodities onto offshore anchored vessels.
“Not only has the system afforded us the opportunity to make some significant cost savings to our iron ore transport and shipment costs, but it has also resulted in significant environmental and safety improvements.”
Iron Ore Holdings is also planning to use the method – coined as trans-shipping – for getting ore from its Pilbara project to market.