‚ÄčThe Hay Point Coal Terminal in Queensland has spent the past three years under development as the third expansion project (HPX3) got underway. In February this year, this third birth helped operators reach a new level of output, and a significant milestone, as a record 82,500 tonnes of coal was loaded and shipped to Indonesia.

The site was expanded to meet an ambition: for Australia to take back the crown as the world's largest coal exporter by 2017 – a goal restated by the Department of Industry in March 2015's Resources and Energy Quarterly.

The Hay Point project takes the country a step closer to world-leader status, as the site has expanded its output capacity from 44 to 55 million tonnes per annum. 

At Bluey, we've been watching the success of this third loading development with eager eyes, after playing a part in its construction. Our company supplied custom engineering products and services, (on top of our more usual offerings) to help both the owners and on-site contractors get the job done.

Bluey's Regional Manager, John Palise, spent nine months on site, helping to organise the project – from warehousing to invoicing. He was supported by a strong Bluey team, which also included Bill Green, our operations manager.

A strong mix and a capable team

The team had a big job on their hands – working both on and offshore – as two towers needed constructing on a reinforced concrete base, across several levels. The concrete needed to be at the height of specification and the contractors called for strict performance criteria, including a 28-day compressive strength of 50MPa and with 56-day shrinkage of less than 600 micro-strain.

Bluey worked closely with Cement Australia to complete the design of the packaged concrete mix, which then underwent full compliance testing before a single drop was poured.

These products were specified to ensure high performance, and included around 1,000 tonnes of BluCem HS200 pile anchor grouting, 1,000 tonnes of BluCem GP60 and kilometers of BluSeal APFoam to create compressible seals.

The strict specifications also allowed us to create new, custom products and show off our bespoke capabilities. We supplied around 6,000 tonnes of a new mix, BluCem HS200AG, and 700 tonnes of BluCem 50/10 packaged concrete to the project.

Off shore and on point

Of course, every project has its challenges, and these can initially seem like limitations. It could be the budget or the remoteness of the construction site – or, as was the case with the HPX3, the fact it was located more than two kilometres off shore.

Concrete agitators can usually just drive into a site and, with minimal fuss, deliver their loads. However, after looking at the possibility of using a barge to ship the mixers across the body of water, the contractors decided this was not a reliable enough solution. After all, the sea is highly changeable and discontinuity of supply was likely in this plan.

Our Bluey team was on hand to help here – beyond our initial duties as suppliers of pile anchor grout and concrete materials. We proposed to design and supply a bulk-packaged concrete mix that could be batched offshore in twin 3.0 cubic modular stationary mixers.

Then, using our partnership with Mixers Australia, we were able to get these units designed, manufactured and delivered on-site and on time.

After bulk drying facilities were set up – to eliminate variation in water ratios and avoid quality non-conformances – the pouring was ready to start, taking place in 14 separate stages.

The final pour was completed in October 2014, at which point around 350 cubic metres of highly specified concrete had been successfully placed, allowing the final stages of the project to commence.

Now, as the coal terminal continues to reach its productivity targets, we're more than excited to see whether Australia can meet its lofty coal-production target over the coming years.

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