The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal site at Gladstone.
The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal site at Gladstone. Mara Pattison-Sowden

Construction peaks at WICET as stage 1 hits 80% mark

GLADSTONE's newest coal terminal under construction is going through its busiest time, with Stage 1 of the $2.5 billion Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal almost 80% complete.

With first coal due in November, the terminal output at full capacity would effectively double the exports coming out of Gladstone's port.

Although construction began 18 months ago with the majority of earthworks on or below the surface, it is over the past six months that the skyline over Golding Point has changed dramatically.

>> Coal exports will double in already busy Port of Gladstone

But like all projects, it won't be a matter of flicking a switch - this year will also see lots of equipment that needs commissioning before the first cape-size vessel sets sail with its hold full of coal.

The private coal company-funded project is working towards a number of milestones in the first quarter of 2014, including taking energy off the grid with a new substation in six weeks time and having the first stacker bridge built by late March.

The project already hit its peak workforce before the Christmas period with about 1250 workers employed, but it is sitting comfortably around the 850 mark at the moment.

General manager for project delivery Malcolm McPhan said the focus was now on the mechanical and electrical works, with many of the major modules already in place.

"There are several thousand components that go into building the stockyard," he said.

"This is our busiest period, and we're focused on meeting those deadlines."

Northside area manager Sam Crawford will oversee the major stockyard coal delivery components including the stacker bridges, tripper and drive system and fitting of the overland conveyor belt.

"We've got over 50% of the stockyard completed, with completion due around August," he said.

He has 285 personnel under his care, with about 80% local workers. From the total 850 workers, there are about 40% of local workers, as marine experts were brought in to deal with the wharf structure.

Other key infrastructure milestones include the rail receival area, which will be completed by May and commissioned in June, and the wharf superstructure set for completion around October.

WICET scope:

  • It will handle 27 million tonnes of coal per annum
  • There are 8 coal company shareholders
  • A rail receival facility will handle 7600 tonnes of coal per hour
  • The stockyard area can hold 1.9 million tonnes
  • Materials handling and sampling systems feeding the 2km long jetty conveyor
  • Single berth with a travelling ship loader to fill ships at 8250 tonnes per hour

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