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Coal Stockpiling and Logistics for BHP Steel's Collieries

Coal Conveyor

A major modelling study was undertaken of the complex coal transportation system in place at BHP's Illawarra Region Collieries. The model encompassed the transportation of raw coal from BHP's six underground mines via a combination of road, overland conveyor and rail to the local Port Kembla Steelworks for washing and coking and/or to the Port Kembla Coal Terminal for export. The logistics involved the handling of three separate and distinct coal types by truck to the single overland conveyor and thence to the Steelworks by train. At the time the study was undertaken extensive use was being made of third-party storage and washing facilities.

Emphasis needed to be placed on the careful scheduling of trucks to mines to avoid full bins (and lost production) and of trains to the bins at the bottom of the drift conveyor. Also the washing of coal types at the steelworks needed to accommodate the limited raw coal storage space as well as the need to supply a consistent blend of clean coal to the coking ovens.

The project was initially undertaken to analyse and make recommendations in respect of alleviating existing bottlenecks and inadequate storage facilities. It was also to recommend the location of anticipated new stockpiles. It was able to demonstrate that with several relatively minor upgrades to infrastructure no additional storage was required.

The model has since been used extensively (with occasional modification) to explore development proposals in respect of:

  • the amalgamation of two of the mines
  • introduction of longwall units into a pit formerly serviced by continuous miners
  • significant increases in total production
  • the introduction of a second washery located at one of the collieries.  This introduced a further coal type (ie clean coal) into the system
  • the use of higher capacity locomotives on the rail system.

Smelter Operations

An analysis of raw materials handling and storage facilities was undertaken for our client to assist with the planning of the proposed third potline at their smelter.

The study looked at the arrival and unloading of raw materials from ship, the transfer of all inwards materials to the plant and their storage and consumption.  It also addressed the circulation of the various recycled materials within the plant.

Of particular concern were the increased utilisation of the shipping berth, the need to share the conveyor from the wharf with materials coming from a local supplier and the sizing of additional alumina and coke storage silos required for the increased production levels.

Processing Plant Development

A simulation model was developed for our client to study the storage and logistic requirements for development of their processing plant.

The model was used to size storage requirements for raw materials, and both intermediate and finished products.  It was also used to assess the likely impact on storage requirements of the rail transfer of these materials.

Other Materials Handling Projects

Analysis of Alumina Storage Requirements
Zinc Materials Handling

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