B&W Mechanical Handling Ltd. of the UK (part of the Aumund
Group) has recently commissioned an important new mobile
shiploader in Greenland for the export of olivine rock at
Fiskefjord, which lies about 70km north of Nuuk, the capital (see
picture above).
Olivine is found in the volcanic rocks of Greenland where
there are substantial deposits and is an important mineral used
in steel production mainly as a refractory raw material and slag
This new facility is operated by MT Højgaard of Denmark
under contract on behalf of Minelco (part of the LKAB group
headquartered in Sweden) and includes a mining operation plus
crushing and screening station located close to the new deep
water jetty with a planned annual output of 2mt (million tonnes).
Minelco has long been an important supplier of olivine,
though without previously having a raw-material source of its
own. The board of LKAB decided in 2004 to invest in the Seqi
olivine deposit in Greenland and mining began in August 2005.
The European steel industry is a self-evident market for olivine,
which is an important additive in LKAB’s blast furnace pellets.
A small ceremony was held on 11 August 2005 to celebrate
the start-up of the project involving Greenland’s prime minister
Hans Enoksen and LKAB’s president, Martin Ivert.
The first vessel with olivine sailed from Greenland on
2 December 2005, bound for Amsterdam.
From the crusher stockpile the olivine is currently taken by
loading shovel to the shiploader utilizing a Samson™ 1600 series
mobile feeder to control the loading rate to a design capacity of
2,000tph (tonnes per hour).
The jetty is simply constructed with in-filled rock; fenders and
mooring dolphins are provided for berthing vessels typically up
to Handymax size (50,000dwt).
This is an excellent example of the application of the
professional mobile shiploader in a location where fixed or
rail-mounted equipment would be entirely inappropriate.
The mobile solution eliminates the need for permanent port
infrastructure or even any concrete quay surface or foundations
and offers the operator the flexibility to establish an export
facility with minimum cost and fast track availability.
In the early phase of the export operation a simple finger
jetty was established and stationary mobile equipment used to
load directly over the ship’s side.
For this application the new shiploader was supplied with a
boom length of 45 metres and a belt width of 1,400mm to
achieve the required loading rate. In addition an on-board diesel
generator provides electric power for the equipment making the
shiploader fully autonomous.
With operating temperatures down to below –30° in such an
exposed position, the wind chill factor is extreme and required
special adaptation of the standard B&W specifications to achieve
the performance and availability required.
During summer the temperature may reach a sweltering +10°
but for most of the year it is sub-zero creating problems not
only for the equipment but with frozen stockpiles creating
material flow problems.
B&W was able to deliver the performance and reliability
demanded in this extremely harsh working environment.
At this latitude daylight hours are limited in the autumn
months and in the winter the port becomes iced limiting the
available working period.
Greenland is a challenging environment for mining with an ice
sheet in places up to 2 miles thick. The weather is cold all year
round and the winters are particularly harsh with some ports
being icebound until well into the summer. Depending on
latitude, the midnight sun is visible from the end of May until the
end of July.
Under these conditions building any fixed port infrastructure
is a real challenge and for most operations the costs are
uneconomic and impractical.
Whilst at present the olivine is transported from the local
stockpile by loading shovel, in the future the B&W-designed ‘Link
Conveyor’ may be employed to transfer the material more
economically over larger distances.
In today’s rapidly changing international market the ability to
react quickly to market volatility and take advantage of shortterm
market positions is essential if operators are to maximize
profitability and return on capital invested.
The ‘mobile solution’ offers the performance both in loading
rates and environmental qualities of a fixed installation with the
added bonus of complete flexibility and ease of operation on
existing berths without the need for dedicated port
infrastructure or expensive permanent civil works.
The ‘truck-to-ship concept’, pioneered by B&W (Aumund
Group) and made possible by virtue of the Samson™ surface
feeder, opens new possibilities for existing ports eliminating the
need for on port storage and the associated double handling.
An early version of the B&W mobile
shiploader at Marina di Carrara in Italy
landing marble chips to Handysize
vessels demonstrates the concept very
This flexible concept simplifies
investment decisions allowing the port
operator or shipper to take advantage
of smaller but potentially lucrative cargo
volumes and short-term contracts that
would certainly not be viable with the
high investment and long lead times
associated with a conventional fixed
Furthermore for large fixed
installations the local permitting process
and inevitable environmental impact
study requirements may often be waived
for mobile plant not only simplifying the
process of bringing a new facility into
the port but speeding the effective project lead time from
identifying the potential bulk export opportunity to loading the
first vessel.
Mobile solutions are not tied to one berth, one harbour or
even one port and may be easily moved should circumstances
demand or may even be re-sold if a contract is terminated. A
strong second-hand market has developed around this concept
with several companies specializing in the resale market.
Remaining in the near arctic another recent delivery in the
north of Russia the largest ever B&W Stormajor™ radial boom
mobile loader delivers gabbro direct from both loading shovels
and tipping trucks into large river barges, typically around 5,000
tonnes and at a rate of 700tph.
In this operation the equipment is located on a large lake
close to the small town of Sheleki which is between St.
Petersburg and Murmansk.
In common with the Minelco project in Greenland and at
similar latitude in this case the river and lakes of the region
remain iced up for approximately six months of the year;
reducing the operating season and demanding continuous
loading during the summer months where daylight is good for
loading 24 hours per day.
Operated by a local division of Basalt AG of Germany the
mine is one of around 450 sites, mainly in Germany; established
for over 100 years and now a major supplier of quarry products
to German industry and road building and an important player in
the developing aggregate business in Russia.
The gabbro is crushed down on site to various grades
suitable for use as aggregate in concrete or road building and
shipped primarily to both St. Petersburg and Moscow where
hard stone is not readily available locally.
With its cantilevered radial outloading boom the Stormajor™
is ideal for loading barges from a lake or river berth using its
long outreach to span out to the barge moored to dolphins just
off the shore line.
The Stormajor™ comprises a Samson™ surface feeder unit
plus a radial and luffing outloading boom both mounted to a
common mobile chassis as a single autonomous unit.
The Samson™ feeder will receive most bulk materials direct
from tipping trucks, dump trucks and/or loading shovels and
when combined with mobile plant opens new possibilities for
totally flexible operation.
The unique benefits offered by the Samson™ surface feeder
concept is the key feature that has enabled the development of
the mobile stacker and Shiploader
from a simple mobile conveyor to a
fully integrated autonomous machine
able to receive almost any dry bulk
material direct from tipping trucks.
These two projects in Greenland
and in Russia, operating under
extreme working conditions where
there are no backup solutions,
demonstrate the efficiency and
reliability of the equipment in
particular where the short loading
season demands continuous availability
to maintain the mine productivity.
So in conclusion after 25 years of
development now combined with the
benefit of integration into the
substantial and respected international
Aumund Group the B&W mobile and
surface mounted solution for ports
and terminals has reached maturity.