Transhippers are Go in WA!

WA’s first iron ore Transhipper is ready for launch. Hailed as a game changer for landlocked ore deposits (those without access to a deepwater port), Transhippers can move millions of tonnes of product from shore to ship. 

The first-of-its-kind vessel was commissioned by Mineral Resources and designed by local and international engineering firms.

Servicing the large-scale Onslow project in WA, the shallow draft Transhipper, named “Airlie”, is completely covered to eliminate dust hazards to the local community.

After transport via covered road train from Ken’s Bore mine 150kms east of Onslow, the ore will enter a 220,000-tonne negative pressure storage facility at the Port of Ashburton. 

From there, it will be transferred to hoppers on the Transhipper via covered conveyors.

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

The First-of-Its-Kind Vessel was Commissioned by Mineral Resources and Designed by Local and International Engineering Firms.

The entire project has been designed per Mineral Resource’s “dust-free mine-to-ship transport solution” to reduce the project’s environmental footprint and impact on the local community.

The Transhipper is 127m long, 36m wide and has a draft of just 7m when fully loaded.

This makes it ideal for (relatively) shallow water operations.

By comparison, the average Capesize vessel used to transport ore worldwide has a draft of 17m.

The design has also significantly reduced dredging requirements in the Port of Ashburton.

Fortescue On-Target for High-Grade Magnetite Market

Fortescue Metals has produced the first batch of Fe magnetite from its Iron Bridge mine in WA. On testing and after a week of operation, the plant delivered a product containing at least 68% iron.

Iron Bridge could become one of Fortescue’s first fossil-fuel-free operations.

It’s hoped the mine, located 145 km south of Port Hedland, will deliver 22 million tonnes of high-grade magnetite annually.

In turn, this will enable Fortescue to enter the high-grade iron ore market with a broader and enhanced product range alongside increased annual production and shipping rates.

Iron Bridge, at a glance:

  • $2.8 billion in goods and services was sourced within Western Australia for the Iron Bridge project 
  • This includes A$285 million to (traditional custodians) Nyamal businesses since 2020
  • Load commissioning commenced on a dry process in early October 2022
  • Fortescue installed a 220km pipeline from the Canning Basin to supply 20GL annually of raw water to operations.
  • Twin concentrate and return pipelines (135km) are under construction, designed to transport concentrate material from the plant to Port Hedland and replace the water.
  • Concentrate Handling Facility construction is progressing, which will dewater the concentrate material before exporting the magnetite product.

The Iron Bridge project took 12.8m work hours to complete and supported 3000 jobs during construction.

900 new permanent positions will be made available during operation.

Australian Hydrogen Needs to Step-Up

The Australian hydrogen industry has warned the government that it risks losing the edge as the US pours billions into new hydrogen technologies.

The US is leaping ahead of the pack to develop a local hydrogen industry by allocating over $360bn to the sector (Europe is following suit). 

Significant players like Fortescue Future Industries and Woodside have signaled the funding may mean they invest more heavily in the States.

The US Inflation Reduction Act underpins these government handouts, while Australia’s $15bn National Reconstruction Fund, designed to rebuild Australia’s industrial base, is still being divided and issued.

As the world shifts towards net-zero goals, the coming decade will be hydrogen’s time to shine as an emerging energy source.

In turn, markets worldwide will work hard to gain their share of the proceeds.

According to Delloite consultancy, “Australia is facing a “hydrogen tipping point”, as big-spending support packages elsewhere add to the urgency of getting a domestic industry off the ground.”

“This decade matters – hydrogen producers are likely to develop significant and persistent first-mover advantages, and the USA, Europe and Gulf producers are entering into a bidding war for market share and dominance,” the firm said. 

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