RCR Mining Technologies Pty Ltd has been engaged to examine the potential to use Helix Dumper System rail unloading technology, which is used successfully in Scandinavian magnetite operations, as the conceptual engineering and design solution for rail transport and unloading infrastructure of magnetite concentrate at the Port of Esperance.
Macarthur and RCR MT completed a site visit to the port on August 27, 2020, in conjunction with representatives from Southern Ports Authority and Arc Infrastructure to review the potential of the Helix Dumper system to optimise the existing Berth 3 ship-loader capacity at the port as well as facilitate increased trade in the region.
“Securing infrastructure pathway”
Macarthur Minerals president and executive chairman Cameron McCall said: “There is a very real concerted energy building around the Lake Giles Iron Project and the company is exceptionally excited to be working collaboratively with the great teams at Southern Ports Authority, RCR MT, Arc Infrastructure and above rail service providers to introduce cutting-edge Helix Dumper technology to the Port of Esperance.
“Macarthur is continuing to forge ahead with a systematic approach to delivering every component of the infrastructure pathway that is necessary to bring Macarthur’s Lake Giles Iron Project into production and to see the first ore go over the ship’s rail.”
Optimising port capacity
If constructed, the Helix Dumper system will be capable of handling tonnages beyond Macarthur’s immediate requirements for the Lake Giles project, providing the potential for increased trade through Esperance, subject to capacity elsewhere within the port.
Notably, the Helix Dumper solution has the potential to optimise the existing Berth 3 ship-loader capacity at the Port of Esperance, enhancing its performance from the current 2,220 tonnes per hour throughput capacity to more than 4,500 tonnes.
With a design capacity potential of up to 25,000 tonnes per hour, RCR MT and Macarthur are confident that the system can easily match the required increased out-loading speeds to get more tonnes through the port.
Conceptual example of a Helix Dumper in operation, reproduced with permission from Kiruna Wagon and RCR MT.
“Economic growth and job security”
McCall said: “With the added capacity that the Helix Dumper technology can deliver, the company considers that there is a real potential to facilitate increased trade through the Port of Esperance and to contribute to the future economic growth and job security for workers at the port and in the Goldfields region.
“Macarthur welcomes the opportunity to be part of that story and to contribute a positive legacy for the State of Western Australia.”
Route to market
Following completion of the engineering design report by RCR MT in coming weeks, Macarthur will engage with key stakeholders to endeavour to agree a preferred option for the development of unloading infrastructure at the port.
Macarthur has progressed along the route-to-market for the project, announcing on June 25 the details of applications lodged for haul road and rail loading tenure which maps out a solution to transport magnetite from the Lake Giles Iron Project to the existing rail network that connects to the Port of Esperance.
In addition, on July 15, 2020, Macarthur received a proposal for development of a commercial track access agreement from Arc Infrastructure, the owner of the below-rail network.
McCall said: “The board is confident that it has a management team with the unique commercial and technical capabilities to get this over the line and take advantage of the current strength and resilience of the global iron ore market.”