BMT JFA Consultants, a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, the leading international maritime design, engineering and risk management consultancy, has successfully completed a series of long term engineering consultancy services for the Southdown Magnetite Project, culminating in a major marine works Feasibility Study in 2011.
The Southdown Magnetite Project is a joint venture between Grange Resources Ltd (Grange) and Sojitz Resources & Technology Pty Ltd (Sojitz) and encompasses the development of an iron ore (magnetite) open pit mining operation located 90km northeast of the Port of Albany in Western Australia. The Port of Albany will be expanded to include a new berth for the export of 10 Million Tonnes Per Annum of magnetite concentrate using large Cape Class vessels.
The company has been involved with the project since its inception in 2005 with the early collection of preliminary site data, including metocean, seismic surveys and geotechnical drilling investigations. This was followed by initial design studies to define the marine engineering requirements for the project, including dredging, land reclamation and berth development which, in turn, assisted progress of the application and successful granting of the necessary environmental approvals for the project.
During 2010 BMT JFA Consultants provided a peer review of pre-feasibility concept designs and in 2011 it was directly engaged by Southdown Joint Venture (SDJV) to undertake the Feasibility Study for the port expansion marine works. The project’s scope includes the construction of approximately 1000 m of rock seawall enclosing an area of approximately seven hectares to be reclaimed using dredged material, to create land for concentrate dewatering, stockpile and ship loading facilities. Adjacent to the seawall a piled wharf, 270m in length, will be constructed to support the ship loader. The existing channel into the port will be extended approximately 6 km offshore and increased in depth and width to accommodate the larger vessels.
During the Feasibility Study, BMT JFA Consultants managed the planning and supervision of a number of field investigations to better understand the geotechnical and metocean characteristics of the site including offshore geotechnical drilling of dredging areas, magnetometer and diver surveys for identification of potential unexploded ordnance (munitions) and deployment of wave and current monitoring instruments. Other key studies managed or undertaken directly by BMT JFA Consultants included under keel clearance studies, vessel pilotage simulation, dredge productivity modelling and port traffic simulation studies. Outcomes from these studies were incorporated into the development and refinement of engineering designs for the seawall, wharf, channel design and dredging.
As the Southdown Joint Venture (SDJV) representative, BMT JFA Consultants was able to leverage its industry experience to bring specialist consultants to ensure a successful outcome for the project. Close liaison with the Albany Port Authority, SDJV and environmental consultants was essential to the development of the berth and channel designs in order to achieve the required throughput capacity for the new facilities within the project approvals framework. BMT JFA Consultants developed detailed capital and operating cost estimates for the port marine components as well as a detailed construction program.
Fernando Moutinho, Project Director – Southdown (SDJV), commented: “BMT JFA Consultants has been instrumental in the successful completion of the marine works component of the Feasibility Study for the Southdown Magnetite Project. The company brought a wide range of coastal and port engineering knowledge and experience to the table which was applied in a practical and thorough manner to the challenges our project presented. BMT JFA Consultants was able to add value from day one and has ensured that the Feasibility Study designs were innovative and economically sound.”
Richard Mocke, Director and Principal Engineer and BMT JFA Consultants’ Project Director commented: “We’re delighted to have successfully completed the Feasibility Study several weeks before deadline and within our original budget estimates.
Having been involved in the project since its inception it is very gratifying to be able to see it all the way through to the current detailed feasibility phase and look forward to being able to bring the project through to the final construction and operational phase.”