IronClad reaffirms plans for innovative transshipment operation
Plans for IronClad’s advanced transshipment operation remain on track. Construction of export facilities is about to commence at the Lucky Bay port, located in the Spencer Gulf and IronClad has recently notched several milestones on its path to full production of 2mtpa by the end of 2013.
Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, supplied $2.2m of Federal funding for the $12.1m Lucky Bay construction bill.
In April, IronClad received final approvals to begin construction on its port facilities and recent pit optimisation work incorporated high grade direct shipping ore into the initial mining activities.
IronClad will develop its transshipping system in two stages. Initially, the company will employ a conventional tug and barge transshipment operation to facilitate its initial ramp up.
A motorised barge will be loaded with laden containers that have been stockpiled at port. The containers will be barged out and tippled into the hold of a panamax vessel, some 10 nautical miles offshore, using a container tippler attached to the ship’s crane.
IronClad has purchased a tug, and reports that production of the vessel in China is progressing to schedule. The tug will be capable of delivering 4,500t per day.
The second stage is where the transshipment system gets interesting. Australian transshipment supplier Sea Transport designed the system to minimise reliance on onshore infrastructure.
Instead a floating harbour platform is employed. It can store up to 90,000t of product, is supplied by self-propelled shallow draft feeder vessels and the bulk carrier is loaded using grabs.
A relatively small negative pressure shed is built at port, sized between 5,000t and 10,000t. A wet dock is attached, where the feeder vessels are loaded.