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Mt Pleasant Rail Loop

The Mt Pleasant (MTP) Mine Project Infrastructure included a Stage 1 rail line to link to the MTP mine, extending approximately 6.7 kilometres from the existing Muswellbrook-Ulan mainline.

Safety-in-design and maintenance-in-design were key focus points of BGC to maximum initial CAPEX for this new coal mine. Workshops and meetings with MACH Energy to discuss coal productions, future rail loads needs and CAPEX were held during all stages of the design. As MACH Energy were integrally involved during design development, sign-off on the design stages (40, 70%, 90%) were easily obtained – demonstrating our quality in design and collaborative approach on this EPC Contract.

Project Details

Design & Construct of 6.7km of railway line including structural & capping layer, ballast, sleeper and track installation. The rail loop ties into the existing ARTC Ulan line and requires the installation of a turn out. Works include:

  • Signals design and installation
  • 700,000m3 of bulk earthworks undertaken by 631 scrapers and D10 dozers. Earthworks involved the winning of material from within the cut areas of the rail alignment, conditioning, possible temporary stockpiling, loading with excavators and loaders onto haul trucks as well as the use of scrapers to win material and haul to the fill locations, tipping/dumping of loads and pushing / spreading with dozers / graders and compactors
  • New road over rail bridge requiring liaison with RMS and local council for approvals
  • 5km of haul roads, 7m wide with bound gravel
  • 2km of diversion roads, 7m wide, complete with shoulders and a sealed pavement
  • 2.4km of new sealed pavement roads to RMS standard local roads
  • Installation of approximately 8no. corrugated steel pipes (CSP) culverts along the rail spur and loop, 7no. culverts associated with the Bengalla deviation road and 4no. culverts associated with the rail access road
  • Ausgrid and Telstra service relocations
  • Construction of a new dam, which collects water run-off from the train load out (TLO) area
  • Erosion & sediment control measures including revegetation of cut and fill batters, hydro-mulching and clearing & grubbing. Topsoil was stripped (100mm) and stockpiled at agreed locations on site adjacent to the works for future reuse in rehabilitation works.

To maintain program momentum, three-weekly look-ahead schedules were submitted to MACH Energy with long lead items including:

  • Bridge t-beams
  • Sleepers
  • Signal components
  • Steel rail track ordered promptly at 100% design sign off.

These items were clearly identified within our construction program to ensure no delays – this was achieved.

Challenges, Innovations & Outcomes

During the 13-month design period, BGC worked closely with designers GHD and MACH Energy, to develop a full design compliant with ARTC Rail Standards. Our team were instrumental in reducing the volume of earthworks through negotiations with ARTC on the maximum grade.  BGC worked closely with MACH Energy during all design change requests (client driven).  All variations and extensions were promptly agreed to by MACH Energy, as BGC took a very collaborative and open book approach during delivery of this EPC contract. Workshops and meetings with MACH to discuss coal productions, future rail loads’ needs and CAPEX were held during all stages of the design. This allowed BGC team to embed safety solutions into our design, whilst minimising O&M costs and initial CAPEX.

A mass haul was completed taking into consideration all physical constraints, the source and destination material requirements, fleet productivities and cost effectiveness. Many elements were taken into consideration to select earthworks plant including:

  • Terrain
  • Material type
  • Hire rate
  • Maintenance
  • Physical constraints
  • Haul distance and utilisation.

Terrain constraints were managed by using appropriate haul roads, crossings and diversions. Finishing works applied to the trimming, landscaping and rehabilitation of the corridor following the completion of earthworks.

To mitigate safety and productivity issues, the following practices were implemented:

  • Limiting size/width of machinery used on fills
  • Dumping and spreading activities to be carried out in separate stretches of embankment
  • Single way haulage only on formation (return on haul road).

Controls were regularly monitored, and the workforce engaged by training, tool box talks and daily notification of the key issues for the work. JHAs and risk assessments were completed for all works operations and associated activities. Workers continuously came forward to report issues or required amendments to ensure that the lake was not polluted by our operations. As a result, the team achieved excellent safety results from day one. 

Client: MACH Energy

November 2016 - June 2018
New South Wales