Full project details
In 2010 Laing O’Rourke finished constructing a coal-loading port terminal at Newcastle, with wharf infrastructure stretching over an 800 m shoreline of the Hunter River. The port works, for the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG), have significantly increased the export capacity of the Hunter Valley coal chain by 30 million tonnes a year.
Formed in 2004, NCIG is a consortium of six Hunter Valley coal producers—BHP Billiton (through Hunter Valley Energy Coal), Centennial Coal, Donaldson Coal, Peabody Energy (through Excel Coal), Felix Resources and Whitehaven Coal. The consortium was formed to address fundamental coal capacity issues in the region.
The new two-berth coal-loading port terminal on Kooragang Island, 6 km west of Newcastle, forms part of NCIG’s vision to expand the region’s existing ship loading facilities. Each berth comprises land- and marine-based piles under a steel superstructure, which in turn supports a precast concrete roadway and two maintenance platforms.
Laing O’Rourke was engaged in 2008 to provide project management, administration, engineering and workforce resources to deliver the works. This included earthworks and revetment construction, land and marine piling, prefabrication and erection of a 600 m long composite steel and concrete wharf structure, construction of maintenance bays, and sedimentation basin and drainage works.
A strict construction timeframe had to be maintained to meet the need for increased coal throughput.
Laing O’Rourke adopted an innovative approach when designing the project, which involved constructing a temporary jetty from which to build the wharf. This provided many benefits, including a solid construction platform for exceptional accuracy when installing marine piles, and isolation from marine effects such as tides, wind and wave action. The methodology behind the work meant that everything was able to be done on land, leading to fewer dredging vessels in the Hunter River.
The temporary jetty solution helped increase safety, quality and environmental controls, which provided an excellent value-for-money proposition. It also gave the client a unique solution to reduce the potential interface issues that marine piling works would have with dredging contractors working in the Hunter River.
Team integration was also evident on the project through the use of Laing O’Rourke’s specialist services, Select Plant Hire and Expanded Structures. Select was involved from the project’s inception and provided a complete plant hire solution, while Expanded Structures joined the project team early in the delivery phase to deliver all in-situ reinforced concrete works.
Among the successful project outcomes, Laing O’Rourke’s quality and environmental audits achieved consistently high ratings, and 300,000 work hours were performed with no time-loss injuries recorded. In 2010 the project was highly commended at Engineers Australia’s Engineering Excellence Awards.