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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Hay Point Expansion

Queensland, Australia
hay point workers

Challenging project helps to meet the world’s increasing steel demand

Hay Point ships metallurgical coal mined from the Bowen Basin in Queensland, Australia, which contains one of the world’s largest reserves of this commodity that is used mainly as a fuel for steel production and as a reducing agent in blast furnaces.

We assisted the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) in the construction of its third expansion, Hay Point Expansion Stage 3, of the Hay Point Coal Terminal, which dramatically increased capacity at one of the world's largest metallurgical coal export facilities. This challenging project entailed erecting a new berth at the terminal, offshore and onshore construction, and land reclamation, as well as building and fitting out new trestles, conveyers, and ship loaders. Bechtel’s work for BMA also included onshore reclamation and materials handling facilities.

The project increased annual throughput capacity from 44 million metric tons to some 55 million metric tons, thus helping BMA keep pace with increased mining production in the region and intensified international demand.

Innovative execution center optimizes performance

Hay Point Expansion Stage 3 was one of several large endeavors managed through the innovative Brisbane Hub. This execution center was formed to plan and optimize large-scale projects owned by BHP Billiton and its partners. These included four nearby metallurgical coal projects in the Bowen Basin: Caval Ridge, Daunia, Broadmeadow and South Walker Creek. 

The Hub model allowed Bechtel and BHP Billiton to work together directly in a planned long-term arrangement for the most effective delivery in terms of budget, schedule, safety and quality improvements, and risk reduction during construction.

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Inside the project

The Hay Point terminal serves eight metallurgical coal mines in central Queensland with an integrated rail-port network. The terminal has rail facilities for unloading the metallurgical coal from the mines, onshore stockpile yards, and offshore wharves.

The offshore wharves are served by a conveyer system, supported on jetties that run out to sea and enable ship loading in deep water. The $2.45 billion expansion presented several construction challenges that the execution team successfully resolved, including:

  • Working under difficult conditions 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) offshore
  • Reclaiming some 25 acres (over 10 hectares) of land adjacent to the existing stockyard area
  • Assembling new transfer towers, surge bins, and a ship loader offsite (due to limited space)
  • Dredging in an environmentally sensitive manner to remove silt, clay, and hard rock to make way for the new berth

The project played a vital role in the local economy, with the construction phase creating more than 1,000 jobs.

Milestones at Hay Point

On December 9, 2014, metallurgical coal was loaded out through the new 1.18-mile (1.9-kilometer) long trestle to the existing Berth 1, which helped prove the reliability of one of the out-loading streams prior to commissioning the new berth and ship loader. 

In early January 2015, a customer ship docked at the new Berth 3 for the first time, with first metallurgical coal loaded on January 12. 

Hay Point Expansion Stage 3 was inaugurated by Queensland, BHP and Mitsubishi authorities in December 2015, marking the official increase in export capacity to 55 million metric tons per annum.