Bulk materials handler helps deliver iron-ore distribution centre, Mining Weekly,  5 December 2014

South Africa-based bulk materials handling engineering company DemcoTECH was involved, from concept to completion, in Brazil-based mining major Vale’s $1.37-billion Teluk Rubiah maritime terminal, which began operations in Malaysia last month.

With a 30-million-tonne-a-year capacity, the iron-ore distribution centre will serve as a strategic distribution hub for Vale’s Asia-based customers.

DemcoTECH GM Paul van de Vyver tells Mining Weekly that, as an engineering contractor on the project, DemcoTECH provided the conceptual design of the terminal and the initial materials handling layouts, as well as the design and basic engineering for the materials Handling portion of the project. DemcoTECH also specified all of the mechanical equipment for the project and adjudicated all the technical portions of the tenders.

The design reviews involved performing static and dynamic analyses on the high-capacity conveyors, and full design and engineering reviews on all the port and yard machines which included structural FEA’s. The equipment included nine port and yard machines, comprising 8 000 t/h bucket wheel stacker-reclaimers, a 10 000 t/h shiploader, a yard stacker and three grab-type 3 500 t/y ship-unloaders. All the machines were purchased from Chinese suppliers.

DemcoTECH also provided operational readiness services through a separate contact. These services included the preparation of operational and maintenance manuals and procedures, as well as training modules.

“We are one of the few bulk materials handling specialists able to provide a full suite of operational readiness services, which encompass the development of the procedures, systems and workplace tools required to successfully operate and maintain a new or upgraded plant. These services cover all the phases of the project life cycle to ensure lower asset life-cycle costs, as a result of more efficient maintenance and operational readiness activities, supported by a capable workforce,” explains Van de Vyver.

He notes that this project was particularly challenging, as it involved concurrent tasks in Malaysia, South Africa, India, Brazil and China. The challenges included working within the different time zones and languages of each country, as well as facing different cultural and engineering working methods and approaches.

Van de Vyver highlights that when the actual conveyor, port and yard machine equipment loads matched the estimated design loads on the quayside and jetty, it was a particularly rewarding milestone for DemcoTECH. “Watching the project progressing during construction, seeing the large machines being rolled off the transport ship onto the quayside and finally seeing the plant operating according to design were further highlights,” he says.

DemcoTECH started work on the project in 2010 and completed its involvement after the Teluk Rubiah maritime terminal was commissioned in June this year. The project cost budget and time schedule targets being achieved was also very rewarding. Eight 400 000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) vessels carrying iron ore to the terminal have been offloaded to date.

Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal

Vale’s iron-ore distribution centre comprises a deep-water wharf and five stockyards, where different types of iron-ore can be blended and customised to the needs of regional steelmakers.

Equipped with an import system that can offload vessels with a capacity of up to 400 000 DWT, as well as an export centre with the capacity to load vessels up to Capesize, the distribution centre’s operations are fully automated to ensure optimum efficiency. By October 2014, Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal had unloaded eight Valemax’s and loaded a number Capesizes successfully.

Located in the Straits of Malacca, about ten days’ travel by sea from other ports in the region, the distribution centre will enable Vale to reduce the iron-ore delivery time to its clients in Asia and South-East Asia, increasing its competitiveness.

Having established Teluk Rubiah, Vale will have the opportunity to blend ores with different grades from its production systems – which used to be sold separately on the market – each with different characteristic features, which will provide greater flexibility in supplying iron ore.

Combined with a fleet of very large ore carriers, the distribution centre represents a sustainable port solution that contributes to a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions for iron-ore delivered in Asia. Teluk Rubiah can receive Valemax vessels, which allow for a 35% reduction in carbon emissions for every ton of ore transported. From there, the iron-ore is transported in Capesize vessels to its port destinations.

Vale’s operations in Teluk Rubiah will create about 600 direct jobs and 1 200 indirect jobs in the region. More than 90% of Vale’s permanent employees are locals, 60% of whom joined the company through apprenticeship programmes organised by the company to recruit and train graduates from local communities.

Since construction of the facility started in 2011, Vale has invested more than $10-million in various socioenvironmental initiatives.

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