The Australian coal industry celebrated a major milestone in June 2009 with the successful completion of the Dalrymple
Bay Coal Terminal’s seventh expansion project (DBCT 7X). Located at the Port of Hay Point, 38 km south of Mackay in
Queensland, Australia, the newly constructed third outloading stream loaded its first coal in late June 2009 and is now
operational. The increase in capacity makes DBCT the largest coal export terminal in the world.
DBCT processes three commercial coal categories — coking coal, PCI coal and thermal coal — which can be potentially
blended into 58 registered products. Coal processed through DBCT is defined as a homogenous product attracting a single
terminal infrastructure handling charge (known as the “TIC”).
Rising world demand for coal produced from Queensland’s Bowen Basin region had stretched the DBCT supply chain to
full capacity. DBCT Management commissioned the seventh expansion of the terminal to increase the capacity of the
terminal by 50%, from 54.5 Mtpa to 85 Mtpa. Delivered across three phases, the complex project, costing approximately
AUD$1.3 billion, represents the largest construction program in the terminal’s history.
DBCT Management engaged Aurecon Hatch to provide full engineering, procurement, construction and project
management (EPCM) services for the DBCT 7X project. The scope, which was almost a duplication of all work
accomplished at the terminal over the last five expansion phases since 1992, required careful integration of multiple
disciplines and stakeholder requirements. Modifications and upgrades were delivered to all major inloading, stockyard
and outloading terminal elements, including:
- Third inloading system including rail loop and dump station
- Stockyard expansion including three additional machinery bunds, two new stockpile rows, four additional
stacking/reclaiming machines, and two existing machine conversions
- Third outloading system feeding the offshore berths
- Fourth berth
- Major power and control systems upgrade
- Additional controls to reduce the impact of noise and dust emissions
Since the completion and handover to DBCT Management of the Phase 1 works on March 3, 2008, two further significant
milestones have now been achieved with the completion and handover of the Phase 2/3 works, which included a fourth
Berth on December 30, 2008 and a new jetty and third outloading system on June 30, 2009, increasing the terminal
capacity to 85 Mtpa.
The overarching challenge of the DBCT 7X project was to provide engineering and project management solutions that
allowed for easy construction within a fully operational facility, with minimal disruption to current activity.
Working within the same terminal footprint, Aurecon Hatch’s designers increased the stockyard volume by 43% and
improved the reclaiming efficiency through innovative vertical concrete bund walls and the addition of two more stockpile
Engineering design excellence on the project is evidenced through the implementation of:
- Automated wagon vibrators that eliminate manual handling and noise-related occupational health and safety hazards
- Support of the jetty widening on a single row of vertical piles. This produced benefits in capital cost, constructability
and maintainability, and the structural solution also provides the ability to accommodate future expansion
- Designs that allowed fast ramp-up of the project with full production being achieved within days
- An enhanced working environment that is cleaner, provides good maintenance access and is less constrained for
A distinguishing feature of the DBCT layout is the ability of two reclaimers to feed ship loaders that are designed to blend
cargoes to meet customer requirements.
The project was delivered in a complex, weather-dependent mix of both greenfield and brownfield environments.
Significant adverse weather was experienced during the life of the project however delays were minimised for the offshore
works through design for construction methodologies that limited the reliance on floating plant and equipment.
During the project’s peak approximately 1,100 workers were involved in its construction. The DBCT 7X project occurred
during a mining and infrastructure boom which created one of the most intensive periods of construction activity that
Australia has ever seen. With traditional, larger, national construction contractors at capacity and unavailable, Aurecon
Hatch used some mid-tier local contractors, subsequently boosting the local economy through employment opportunities.
At various points throughout construction, major shutdowns were required to tie in the new facilities. These intense
periods were carried out on schedule and produced a minimal loss of production to the terminal.
Full commissioning of the new outloading system included the implementation of a full 3D anti-collision and collision-avoidance
system for the yard machines that significantly increases efficiencies for the stacking and reclaiming operations.
Throughput capacity for all the major components of the inloading and outloading materials, handling systems have
reached nameplate capacity almost immediately after commissioning and have been performing well on site.
Aurecon Hatch managed the safety for the construction activities on site. The interaction with the ongoing operations
produced a complex system for safety management. A major focus was on review and monitoring of work method
statements for high risk activities.
The total project hours worked were 5.5 million. In that time, the following was completed:
- 8,000 inductions
- 10,800 short-term work permits issued
- 3000 Toolbox Talks
- 30,700 job hazard analyses undertaken
- 64,000 stepback 5X5s completed
- 21,000 safety activity and behavioral audits
- 8000 random breath tests
- 700 drug tests
The project was completed with a lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of 0.92.