04/11/2009 - 09:30

Rio rebuilds Dampier Salt ship loader

04/11/2009 - 09:30

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Rio Tinto is rebuilding ship loading infrastructure at its Dampier Salt operation in Port Hedland, which will allow ships to be loaded faster and reduce environmental impacts.

Rio Tinto is rebuilding ship loading infrastructure at its Dampier Salt operation in Port Hedland, which will allow ships to be loaded faster and reduce environmental impacts.

The rebuild, which started last year, will replace the original ship loader which was built 40 years ago by Leslie Salt.

The ship loader was built in China by Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery, while all other components including electrical systems and the feed converyors were built in Western Australia.

Rio general manager operations Tom Lukeman said the upgrade of the infrastructure paves the way for future expansions.

"The new ship loader will allow the same number of tonnes to be loaded over a shorter period of time," he said.

"This means at our current production rate we will be spending less hours loading, and there will be less of an impact in terms of noise and energy use."

The upgrade will be completed in October following the arrival of the new ship-loader.

 

 

Full announcement below:

 

Rio Tinto upgrades its Dampier Salt operation in Port Hedland

3 November 2009

 

Rio Tinto is rebuilding ship loading infrastructure at its Dampier Salt operation in Port Hedland.

Dampier Salt's operation in Port Hedland was established 40 years ago and is today one of the worlds largest sustainable salt export operations.

The new ship loading circuit will allow ships to be loaded faster and reduce the environmental impacts of port operations. The upgrade project started in 2008 and will be completed following the arrival of the new ship-loader in October.

In 2001 Rio Tinto subsidiary Dampier Salt acquired the Port Hedland operation which now has a production capacity of 3.2 million tonnes per annum of high quality salt. The port operations are adjacent to the Port Hedland Port Authority and Rio Tinto's infrastructure loads ships berthed at the public wharf. Since the 1960s salt has been a major commodity exported from the town's public port.

General Manager Operations Tom Lukeman said the upgrade would replace the original ship loader which was built 40 years ago by Leslie Salt.

"The new ship loader will allow the same number of tonnes to be loaded over a shorter period of time. This means at our current production rate we will be spending less hours loading, and there will be less of an impact in terms of noise and energy use. The facility also sets us up for the future, providing the potential to support future expansions in capacity of the operation," Mr Lukeman said.

The new conveyor systems are fitted with low noise idlers and are significantly quieter and faster than the existing conveyors. It will allow loading at 3500 tonnes per hour, as opposed to the old ship-loader which ran at 1500 tonnes per hour.

Other advantages of the new ship loader include the capability of remote operation, which allows the operator to have greater visibility and more accurate operational control. Remote control will allow the operator to control the ship loader from the deck of the ship or from other parts of the wharf.

The ship-loader was built in China by Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery and was delivered to Port Hedland by ship and transferred onto the wharf. All other components including electrical systems and the feed conveyors have been built in Western Australia.

The upgraded ship loader will be an important element of Dampier Salt's three-site reliability strategy, which involves stock and freight management procedures across the three sites to mitigate against cyclone risk.

"Dampier Salt's three-site strategy ensures we can meet our contractual commitments even when faced with significant cyclone damage, which is a seasonal risk in northern WA," Mr Lukeman said.

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