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New iron ore export terminal opens in WA

A new dedicated iron ore port terminal and associated infrastructure at Geraldton Port for the Karara iron ore project in Western Australia has been officially opened.
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Located 200km east of Geraldton in Western Australia, the Karara iron ore project is being developed by Karara Mining Limited (KML), a 50:50 joint venture between Gindalbie Metals and Chinese steel producer, AnSteel.

The opening of the new A$200M Karara Export Terminal comes ahead of the first production of magnetite concentrate from the Karara project, which is expected to occur in October.

DSO hematite is currently being stockpiled in the Karara storage shed utilising the recently commissioned rail and port infrastructure, and shipments from the port are expected to start within weeks.

The port facilities – which comprise a 297m storage facility, a dedicated berth (Berth 7) and modern 5,000tph ship-loader – represent an investment of more than $200M and are a cornerstone of the Karara project’s $1B-plus investment in new infrastructure in the Mid West region and a key part of its integrated mine, rail and port logistics chain.

The new terminal, which is located adjacent to Mt Gibson Iron’s storage shed, is capable of handling up to 16 mtpa of magnetite concentrate or hematite DSO exports from a dedicated berth with associated rail and unloading infrastructure.

The terminal consists of:

  • a dedicated 4th railway line inside the Port, connecting the facility with the Karara Project, located 225km inland;
  • a twin-car rotary dumper (or train unloader), which is also capable of bottom dumping;
  • a 297m storage facility with a capacity of 255,000 metric tonnes which will house stockpiles of magnetite concentrate and hematite DSO delivered to port;
  • a dedicated Berth 7 which can accommodate Panamax vessels (loaded to approximately 60,000t); and
  • a 5,000tph ship-loader, with a long-travel, luffing and slewing mechanism.

The ship-loader is environmentally friendly, fully contained and fitted with dust suppression, extraction and fogging systems. The entire terminal is fitted with dust suppression and extraction at each transfer point, as well as fully automated moisture analysers and a sample station, Gindalbie said. .

Vessel MoorMaster units (similar to those used at some of the large Pilbara iron ore ports) have been fitted to minimise the impact of swell and weather delays, and to reduce the safety risk of mooring lines parting.

Apart from the safety benefits, this will also over time enable Karara to increase berth availability to boost tonnage throughput to the maximum capacity.

There are no common conveyors with other port users, including the nearby common-user iron ore terminal at Berth 5. The new Berth 7 has been strategically positioned to avoid conflicts with other vessels mooring at other berths.

Gindalbie’s MD, Mr Tim Netscher, said the new Karara Export Terminal set new standards for efficiency, safety and the highest possible environmental standards in the Port of Geraldton.

“This is a sophisticated iron ore terminal which has a number of significant advantages and which includes the only rotary car dumper currently in the port,” he said.

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