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South African coal terminal replaces old gear

Richards Bay coal terminal. Photo: Aurecon

South Africa’s main coal conduit, the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, is to replace 39-year old stackers, reclaimers, and shiploaders, while adding a new electrical substation and re-configuring five more.

Richards Bay is spending around $137m bringing its terminal up to date. Sandvik will provide new equipment, with Aurecon project managing the new stacker reclaimers and shiploaders and Norconsult project managing the sub-station reconfiguration.

New equipment includes two 6,000tphr rail mounted stacker reclaimers and two 10,000tphr rail mounted shiploaders.

Currently, amongst a wider pool of stockyard machines, there are two Dravo stacker reclaimers operating at Richards Bay. These were commissioned in 1976 and will reach the end of their design life in two years, hence the decision to proceed with replacement.

In terms of shiploaders, there are two Fives Lille-Gail Applevage Shiploaders at the terminal, again commissioned in 1976 and ready for replacement if the terminal’s production capacity is to be maintained.

Dates for the arrival of new equipment are mid-2017 for the new shiploaders and the end of 2017/start of 2018 for the stacker-reclaimers.

“The beauty of the project is that we will not take the old out until the new is in and there will be a quick changeover,” commented RBCT engineering and project manager, Bill Murphy.

Richards Bay said that Sandvik, with this project, aims to “expand their footprint in the coal industry and build on their existing port expertise.”

Aurecon was involved in detailed scenario planning and discussions to bring RBCT’s replacement project to life.

“The equipment that will be replaced was commissioned in 1976 and continues to operate to this day. Its replacement will not only improve the efficiencies and reliability of the terminal but ensure continued sustainable growth in South Africa’s coal export sector,” commented Albert Geldenhuys, managing director, Aurecon South Africa.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) is one of the leading coal export terminals in the world. Opened in 1976 with an original capacity of 12 million tons per annum, it has grown into a 24-hour operation with a design capacity of 91 million tons per annum. The 276 hectare site has a 2.2km quay with six berths and four ship loaders and stockyard capacity of 8.2 million tons.

The operation is owned by a consortium of South African coal producers including Anglo American, South32, Sasol, Glencore, Kangra Coal, Total Coal and Exxaro.

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