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Heavy lifting for Onslow Iron marine infrastructure

BigLift heavy transport vessel Happy Dover recently sailed into the Port of Ashburton bringing essential marine cargo for Mineral Resources’ (MinRes) transformational Onslow Iron project.

BigLift specialises in heavy lift and project cargoes, with there being a limited number of these heavy transport vessels in the world.

Cargo on the vessel includes 20-meter-high berthing dolphins and the loading wharf that was transported in two modules, as well as landside port infrastructure including conveyors and transfer stations.

The BigLift vessel is equipped with two 450 tonne cranes to lift and place the cargo directly onto the piles, with the wharf modules weighing 150 tonnes each and the largest dolphins weighing 270 tonnes each.

The smaller mooring dolphins will be transhipped to the marine installation contractors jack up barge for installation after the Happy Dover departs.

MinRes Onslow Iron Project Director Darren Hardy said the arrival of the marine cargo is an important milestone for the project.

“Marine works are well underway at the Port of Ashburton, with the arrival of the BigLift vessel enabling wharf infrastructure to be installed,” Mr Hardy said.

“Work is also progressing on the enclosed storage facility that can store up to 220,000 tonnes of product – all of the 340 foundation piles have been installed, with steel works commencing shortly.

“The installation of the wharf is integral to the operation of the transhippers that will be working 24/7 to carry iron ore to Capesize vessels anchored 40 kilometres off the coast.”

Heavy lift vessels are designed to move very large loads that cannot be handled by normal ships, with the Happy Dover vessel having a 900 tonne lift capacity.

“There are not many heavy lift vessels in the world, with it being a rare sight to see one being unloaded, let alone at the Port of Ashburton,” Mr Hardy added.

“Congratulations to the project team for coordinating the successful unloading of the cargo – I’m excited to see the project progress as we race towards first ore mid next year.”

Read more about the Onslow Iron project.