Australian-made infrastructure arrives at the Amrun Project

20 June 2018

An Australian construction and assembly effort is being celebrated after key pieces of infrastructure fabricated in Western Australia arrived in Weipa in Far North Queensland in early June.

In late 2016 engineering firm Sandvik awarded Civmec, a Western Australian-based fabrication company, a contract to deliver a 550 tonne stacker and a 1,700 tonne reclaimer. Following 16 months of fabrication, the modules arrived on a heavy lift vessel following a nine-day voyage to Queensland. The infrastructure pieces will form a vital component of Rio Tinto’s A$2.6 billion Amrun bauxite project on Cape York Peninsula.

Rio Tinto Amrun Project general manager Marcia Hanrahan said "The remoteness of the Amrun site meant the safest and most efficient way to approach this type of construction was to fabricate the infrastructure into large-scale modules.

"The infrastructure has created employment on both sides of Australia with fabrication and part-commissioning of the modules generating 150 jobs for West Australians and 100 jobs for Queenslanders who will construct and fully commission the units now they have arrived at site.

"The achievement is another example of our commitment to showcasing best practice Australian manufacturing expertise, delivering local jobs, and providing a boost to the Australian economy."

As at the first quarter of 2018, the Amrun Project directly and indirectly spent more than A$2 billion with 1,130 Australian suppliers, including 727 Queensland businesses, 71 Western Cape businesses, and 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

Sandvik director of projects Aaron Di Giacomo said "It was a tremendous opportunity to manage the fabrication and pre-assembly of these important machines for Rio Tinto on Australian shores."

The function of the stacker is to receive bauxite after it is processed and build stockpiles ready to be loaded onto ships. The reclaimer then collects or ‘reclaims’ bauxite from the stockpiles and delivers the product via conveyor to the shiploader which loads bulk carrier vessels.

The Amrun site team are expected to take ten days to unload the modules from the heavy lift vessel and a further six months to assemble and commission the machines. 

The shiploader is the final piece of infrastructure outstanding for the project and is expected to be shipped from Western Australia mid-year.

About the Amrun Project

Rio Tinto announced its A$2.6 billion investment in the Amrun Project in late 2015. The project is about 40 kilometres south of Rio Tinto’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines on the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland and involves the construction of a bauxite mine, processing and port facilities.

Over 1,000 people are now working on site with the workforce having peaked at 1,250 people in the fourth quarter of 2017. 79 per cent of workers are from Queensland and more than 160 are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander including over 60 Local Aboriginal People.

Rio Tinto has a long history of partnering with Traditional Owners on Cape York and the project will continue to create opportunities for Indigenous people from Cape York and the surrounding region.

Production and shipping are expected to commence in the first half of 2019, ramping up to full production by the end of the year.