After receiving state government authorization in 1997 to expand the Kooragang terminal, Port Waratah Coal Services approved multiple projects to boost capacity at its facility in southeastern Australia, with the final stage delivering one of the globe’s principal metallurgical coal-handling operations.
These projects increased the terminal’s annual capacity from 77 million metric tons to 145 million metric tons. The most recent - the Kooragang Expansion Project 145 – included upgrading its rail receival systems to unload trains and build stockpiles at an increased rate; a fourth berth to upgrade ship-loading capacity and dredging to provide access; and power, water, communication and process control infrastructure.
This project also marked the fifth time Port Waratah had selected Bechtel to expand its operation, dating back to 1999.
Innovation to protect the environment
The Kooragang Expansion Project 145 team worked in close collaboration to pioneer the use of recharge wells to dispose of construction-derived water. The dewatering and recharge wells allowed the team to complete an underground rail-dump station and conveyor tunnel to ensure Port Waratah complied with the local government’s environmental regulations.
The team minimized the amount of water pumped and optimized the recharge system in the way that it sequenced construction, designed the dewatering wells, selected particular pumps, controlled clogging, and operated and maintained the entire system, which included 31 dewatering wells, 15 well pumps and 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) of aboveground piping.
The work never stops
Kooragang is a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year operation that can receive, stockpile, and load coal on three ships simultaneously, and berth five ships at once. Port Waratah Coal Services exports the commodity through Kooragang from more than 30 mines in Australia’s Hunter Valley region.