Phosphate cargo ship breaks up off Christmas Island

Wild weather has seen a cargo ship carrying phosphate break against the coast of Christmas Island.

The MV Tycoon reportedly smashed into the sea wall during heavy swells after it came loose from its moorings over the weekend.

The ship had been loading phosphate from the Christmas Island mines over the past three days.

According to the ABC, weather conditions have worsened and the wreckage is a mess.

Scott Fisher, from the island’s Volunteer Marine Rescue, said diesel oil surrounds the ship.

"There’s oil washing around close to it, there’s swells up the height of the wharf, the cliff, and the ship is just sitting on the bottom," he said.

It is feared that any phosphate which escapes from the damaged vessel may pose a risk to coral and local wild life.

WA Today reported that if the cargo leaks from the Tycoon, it will likely kill the surrounding coral reefs.

According to The West, while oil leaking from the ship poses a direct hazard to the local threatened sea birds and to coral, the actual phosphate cargo is unlikely to have long term effects on the environment as it is in crystal forms, and would not cause algal blooms, but may smother the reef.

The Greens have called for an immediate inquiry into the cause of the accident and subsequent oil spill.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert has asked "why was this ship left on its moorings at the loading dock when the forecast was indicating swell conditions?

"I understand that under these circumstances it wouol dbe normal to move the ship from its moorings – why didn’t it happen?

“Given the nature of the conditions it is unlikely that the heavy bunker oil, diesel and phosphate currently flowing into the marine environment will be contained or cleaned up," Siewert added.

Christmas Island was recently the site of serious industrial action which threatened to shut down the island’s mining industry.

Image: ABC – Scott Fisher


Buswell condemns Fremantle port strike

Fremantle wharf workers have staged a four-day work stoppage over a pay dispute. The strike, planned by 24 vessel-traffic officers and pilot boat crews, began on Saturday.

The latest action follows a two-day strike at the port earlier this month, as workers push for a pay rise of six per cent annually over three years. Fremantle Ports had offered a 4.75 per cent annual increase over the same time period, a report in the West Australian noted.

On Thursday, prior to the weekend’s strike, Western Australia’s transport minister Troy Buswell told reporters: "If you applied what the union has asked for, it will potentially increase the port’s wage costs by about 53 per cent over the next three years and that’s not sustainable.”

Buswell insisted wharf workers should not have the right to shut down one of Australia’s busiest ports, according to a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I struggle to understand how the Commonwealth can oversee an industrial relations environment that legally sees 24 people shut down one of Australia’s 10 most busy ports for four days," he said.

Buswell said the problem with the current system is that it does not provide a formalised mechanism to get the independent umpire involved.

"The independent umpire is kept at arm’s length and the party with the greatest leverage can basically extort an outcome out of, in this case, the Fremantle Port Authority," he said.

Image: from an earlier protest at Fremantle Port – May 2011. Image credit: In My Community

Rio ships 100 millionth tonne of iron ore

Rio Tinto has shipped its 100 millionth tonne of iron ore from the Pilbara to Baosteel under its Bao-HI joint venture.

The milestone marks the half-way point of the agreement for 200 million tonnes to be mined and sold to Chinese company Baosteel.

Rio Tinto’s head of iron ore and Australia, Sam Walsh, said the Bao-HI joint venture was one of two such partnerships Rio has forged since the company first shipped iron ore to China in 1973, delivering hundreds of millions of tonnes into the world’s fastest growing and largest steel industry.

The joint venture was first formed in 2002 between Rio’s subsidiary Ranges Mining, which owns 54 per cent, and Baosteel Australia Mining which owns 46 per cent.

The majority of the iron ore shipped under the joint venture was produced at the Eastern Ranges mines, near Paraburdoo, which was established specifically for the joint venture.

The 100 millionth tonne left Dampier on Friday, bound for Shanghai.

Image: Australian Mining website

Norfolk Group wins BHP rail contract

Norfolk Group has won an $82 million contract for rail signalling systems at BHP Billiton’s Port Hedland project.

The engineering company will design and install new and modified signaling systems for the iron ore port in the Pilbara.

Norfolk’s electrical and communications subsidiary O’Donnell Griffin will deliver the works and is also responsible for the design of software and hardware, as well as installation and commissioning.

Around 200 employees will work on the project, as O’Donnell Griffin partners with GE to develop the technology.

Norfolk’s managing director, Glenn Wallace, said the company has focused on growing its rail business.

"Last year we created a National Rail Group within O’Donnell Griffin to provide specialist expertise," he said.

Infrastructure has been highlighted as one of the most vital elements in developing mining in the region.

Recently, Siemens released one of the largest industry based meta-research studies in the country’s history – which cited Australia’s degrading infrastructure as our major obstacle in harnessing mining’s continual rise.

Earlier this year, Siemens senior research officer Matt Sunberg told Australian Mining that Australia’s infrastructure has been ignored for some time and would need a cash injection of "$60 billion if we want to get it up to scratch".

From pit to port to point of loading, he outlined wide spread congestion and a general disconnect.

Head of productivity research at Siemens, Matthew Rait, explained that "integrating our ports with a transport network to support rail will not only increase our productivity but also decrease our road transport inefficiencies".

Image: Norfolk Group

Kalari to open Rockingham depot

Bulk logistics operator Kalari will this week open its new depot in Rockingham, Western Australia.

The 2.55 hectare depot will officially open this Friday, 2 December. The development project includes a 1,320 sqm service workshop, 19 road train parking bays and circulation areas, a wash bay and fuel filling station.

The Mandurah Road site is shared with the heritage-listed Hymus House, which become the administration office. The building was fully restored during the development.

City of Rockingham deputy mayor Deb Hamblin and Swire chairman Bill Rothery, will formally open the depot at Friday’s ceremony.

Kalari is a wholly owned subsidiary of John Swire & Sons Pty Ltd, part of the Swire Group. Swire is a global diversified business with interests in property, aviation, beverages, marine services, trading and industrial. The company has a second Western Australian depot located in Dongara, near Geraldton.

“This new development underpins our strategic growth in Western Australia, and we are happy to continue our role as a quality employer in the Rockingham region,” Kalari managing director Greg Holt said.

“The project is part of the company’s vision to maintain a strong presence in the west, and extends our reach in the mining and resources sector,” Holt said.

Kalari provides specialised bulk logistics services to clients in the resources sector. The company operates a nationwide network of 22 facilities with a fleet of 250 prime movers and more than 1000 specialised trailers.

Image: Kalari double-truck. Source: John Swire & Sons

Gindalbie Metals finalises Karara rail contracts

Australian iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals has announced the completion of key rail contracts for the Karara Iron Ore Project in Western Australia.

All documentation for the two key rail contracts – the long-term Rail Haulage Agreement signed on 6 June with QR National Freight’s subsidiary Australian Western Railroads (AWR) and the 15-year rail access agreement with Brookfield Rail signed on 3 August – have been finalised and both contracts are now unconditional.

The above rail contract with QR National Freight is for the transportation of up to 10Mtpa over a period of 10 years, Gindalbie said in a statement.

Under this agreement, QR National Freight will provide a fleet of new locomotives and wagons and upgraded administration and maintenance facilities at the Narngulu East Facility near Geraldton.

The below rail contract is with Brookfield Rail, the lease-holder and operator of the existing 200km narrow gauge rail line that runs from Morawa to Geraldton.

The agreement includes provision for Brookfield Rail to undertake a major upgrade of this existing rail line, providing capacity for Karara’s Stage 1 production of 10Mtpa and its anticipated Stage 2 expansion to 16Mtpa.

This includes rail upgrade works including installation of dual gauge sleepers similar to those being installed on Karara’s 85km spur line.

The completion of the Rail Haulage Agreement follows satisfaction of all conditions precedent which included the signing of the below-rail agreement with Brookfield Rail, completion of direct agreements with KML’s security trustee and KML obtaining the consent of its financiers to the final form of the RHA and rail access agreement.

The associated $300 million Brookfield Rail Guarantee Facility for the below-rail contract was signed in September.

Brookfield Rail has already commenced the rail upgrade, with ongoing work scheduled to facilitate the required train paths to support initial ramp-up tonnages of ore from the Karara Project once commissioning commences in 2012. The rail upgrades are expected to be progressed in line with Karara’s ramp-up schedule, with full capacity reached in December 2012.

Gindalbie’s managing director, Tim Netscher, said the completion of the above and below rail contracts put the finishing touches to the end-to-end infrastructure solution for the Karara Project.

“With construction of the 85km spur line at an advanced stage, upgrades to the Brookfield Rail network underway, stringing of the powerline in progress, construction of the water pipeline complete and the Geraldton Port facilities taking shape, this is very exciting time for Karara as the key elements of our infrastructure solution enter into the final stages of construction,” Netscher said.

Image: WA Business News

Rigger fined over fallen load

An employee of a rigging company has been fined $1250 over an incident in which a 10-tonne steel roof section fell from a tower crane on a building site in Western Australia.

Graham Steven Bell pleaded guilty to, as an employee, failing to take reasonable care to ensure his own safety and the safety of others, and was fined in the Rockingham Magistrates Court on Monday.

In July 2009, Bell was employed by Perth Rigging Company Pty Ltd on a site at Naval Base where steel roof sections were being placed on concrete silos. He was in charge of arranging how the steel roof sections would be lifted into place.

The first roof section had been placed on one of the silos, and the second section (which was 18 meters long, six metres wide and weighed more than 10 tonnes) was to be lifted onto another of the silos.

Perth Rigging did not have available the necessary rigging equipment to lift this roof section, and the site supervisor offered to obtain this equipment. The offer was accepted, but Bell did not stipulate what rigging equipment was required.

Four three-tonne synthetic lifting slings and two chains were provided to Bell, and he decided to use this equipment to lift the roof section. He also determined the manner in which the slings would be used.

The four slings were attached to the load, but when it was lifted by the tower crane to a height of around 15 metres, one or more of the slings snapped and the roof section swung before the remaining slings snapped and it fell to the ground.

Two workers assisting Bell were forced to run to ensure they were clear of the falling load, and the tower crane itself swung violently as the load was released.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today that the case should serve as a warning to employers to ensure safe systems of work were used at all times.

“The worker involved in this case put his fellow employees in a situation in which they could have been seriously injured or even killed by a huge piece of falling metal,” McCulloch said.

“Mr Bell held a certificate in advanced rigging, so it’s hard to imagine how he would not have known better than to use slings that were not rated to lift the load.

“The case is also a good illustration of the fact that the employer does not have sole responsibility for workplace safety – employees are also obligated to take reasonable care to ensure their own safety and the safety of any other person in the workplace,” McCulloch said.

Image: ABC News

Aquila Resources makes headway on Anketell Port and railway line

Aquila Resources Limited has advanced the approval processes for the West Pilbara Iron Ore Project.

The project includes the development of Anketell Port, and construction of a railway, mines and mine infrastructure south west of Pannawonica.

Port Facilities
Western Australia’s Department of State Development (DSD) has given its support to the assessment by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of an amendment to the Anketell Port public environmental review to describe a revised port layout.

The amendment document describes and evaluates changes to the port proposal and addresses submissions received on the original public environmental review. The DSD acknowledged that the environmental data and analysis in the draft public environmental review was a significant consideration in the Dampier Port Authority’s master planning process.

The public environmental review amendment document will be available for examination for 30 days from next week. On the current schedule a report from the EPA as to the environmental acceptability of the proposed Anketell Port development is anticipated late in the March Quarter 2012.

The revised proposal provides for other mining companies to participate in the port development of up to 100Mtpa.

Mine and Rail Facilities

Progress is being made in respect of other approvals necessary for the Project. State and
Commonwealth Ministerial environmental approvals for the mine and rail elements are expected before the end of the year.

The Stage 1 Project Management Plan for the construction and operation of the mining operations has been approved by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Applications for Mining Leases and other tenure necessary for the mining operations and infrastructure such as Miscellaneous Licences have been lodged with the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Assuming a successful completion of Native Title agreements, receipt of the Mining Leases is expected by mid-2012. A plan of these tenements is shown below.

A majority of the Project’s substantial mine and rail footprint has been covered by heritage surveys, which have been undertaken in consultation with Traditional Owners. Native Title negotiations are well advanced, with some agreements expected to be finalised this year.

Goodman begins development of WA Linfox facility

Posted by Rita Mu

Industrial property group Goodman has announced the development of a new 27,085 square metre distribution centre for Linfox Logistics at Stockyards Industrial Estate in Hazelmere, Western Australia.

The new facility for Linfox will accommodate the company’s warehouse and distribution operations for the Perth and greater Western Australia region. The purpose-built facility includes a 25,235 square metre warehouse with 1,850 square metre office and ancillary space on an 8 hectare site, with Linfox committing to an initial 10-year lease term.

Goodman’s general manager of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, Travis Hardman, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Linfox to undertake this latest development at Stockyards which builds on our long established relationship in developing facilities for Linfox.”

The distribution centre, which is expected to be completed in March 2012, will be one of the largest industrial facilities in the Perth area with an estimated value of $55.8 million, according to Goodman.

The facility is the ninth pre-committed development that Goodman has undertaken for Linfox in Australia, with previous developments across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, totalling more than 124,000 square metres.

Linfox now occupies more than 224,000 square metres of space in a number of Goodman owned assets nationally, making it one of Goodman’s top 10 customers in Australia.

Linfox to build WA supersite for resources customers

Posted by Rita Mu

Linfox has secured eight hectares of prime industrial Perth real estate at Hazelmere to develop a supersite for its growing resources industry customer base.

The $68 million development, which will begin operating early next year, builds on two years of Linfox investment in logistics services for Western Australia resources companies, according to Linfox CEO Michael Byrne.

“Linfox has built a strong position in the WA industry in the last two years. By 2013 our investment in specialised fleet, property and equipment will exceed $200 million,” Byrne said.

“This is a major advance in our specialisation for the resources sector. Linfox has raised the bar in quality service for the industry and has developed a reputation for operational excellence and safety.”

According to Linfox, Hazelmere provides efficient access to major highways for the company’s double road trains.

According to Byrne, Linfox are considering four further property developments in Karratha, Dampier, Broome and Darwin in the coming year.

“We will build the freight network capacity to manage long term growth in the industry,” Byrne said.

Linfox is also developing its capacity to service mining, oil and gas projects in the Northern Territory and Queensland. The property developments are managed in conjunction with the Linfox Property Group.

Linfox’s resources customers include BHP Billiton in Western Australia and South Australia and Fortescue Metals Group. It also partners Agility Logistics to service Western Australia’s Gorgon gas field development.

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