Specialised Pontoon Pumping System

Customer: Peabody Energy Australia

Location: Moorvale Coal Mine, QLD

Case Study ID: CS-64

Date: February 2016

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Peabody Energy Australia engaged Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment’s Mackay Engineering Department and Fabrication Workshop to deliver a Specialised Pontoon Pumping System for use at their Moorvale Coal Mine, located 156 kilometres South West of Mackay, QLD. This project presented several challenges for the Dowdens Mackay engineering and fabrication staff, including but not limited to an extremely tight delivery timeline of only eight weeks!

Peabody Energy’s Moorvale Mine is an open-cut coal mine that produces low-volatile pulverised coal injection (PCI) coal, coking coal and thermal coal for export markets. The Moorvale Coal Mine is particularly challenging for its operators because the coal seam is relatively narrow with many fault lines. This requires excavators often having to work in confined areas. The three piles that make up the Moorvale coal seams are mined independently of each other.

Dowdens new pontoon pumping system allowed for an increased volume of water to be pumped from a dam containing higher quality raw water; subsequently, the Specialised Pontoon Pumping System that Dowdens supplied has helped improve the CHPP’s daily operations.

The Problem

Dowdens Specialised Pontoon Pumping System was needed to provide Peabody Energy more reliable access to good quality Raw Water from an on-site dam. This raw dam water then had to be pumped directly to the onsite Coal Handling & Preparation Plant (CHPP). The existing supply of water was limited and of poor quality.

Our Solution

This project required both Dowdens Engineering Dept. & Fabrication Teams to deliver an innovative solution not previously attempted in-house. It was the first time Dowdens had manufactured 12 m length gangways or a pontoon with a weight of over 6 tonnes. The total pontoon weight includes all steelwork, flooring, pumps, piping, and displaced using HDPE (high-density polyethylene) Floats. The longest gangway Dowdens had supplied previously measured 8 m in length, with the largest pontoon previously fabricated weighing in at 4.5 tonnes.

The new system meant Dowdens existing in-house designs had to be modified and improved, with new floats being selected in order to carry the increased platform weight safely. Additional weight-saving measures were implemented by Dowdens Engineers, such as the use of lightweight, high strength aluminium mesh flooring.

The timeline to design this pontoon pumping solution, manufacture the components and have them delivered to the site was extremely tight. Engineering — Concept Design — Drawings & In-House Fabrication of the unique Pontoon Pumping System was completed and delivered to Moorvale Mine within their specified 8-week time frame!

No other pumping/manufacturing/engineering firm in Queensland can deliver such an all-encompassing product solution within the time mentioned above.

Key Components & Features

  • Two × 12 m long gangways — with one being suspended and one floating on the dam’s surface.
  • Gangways Design, Fabrication, Fitout & Supply included all necessary concrete mooring blocks, lights, cables & trays
  • 6 m × 3.3 m floating pontoon — weighing over 6 tonnes
  • Pontoons Design, Fabrication, Fitout & Supply included lights, suction and discharge pipework, priming system, cables & trays

Project Design Philosophy

Dowdens design philosophy for this project was:

  • Fast Turnaround
  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • Ease of Installation
  • Simple Plant Operation
  • Plant Reliability & Reduced Maintenance.

Customer Review

“This particular project had a tight lead & build delivery timeline (approximately eight weeks). During this time, Dowdens were in regular contact with us; the project coordination and regular communication I received from Dowdens Engineers enabled me to better plan for the delivery and installation of the gangway and pontoon, which required a 100-tonne crane to be booked and ready onsite for the unloading and installation.

Dowdens Engineering Department was prompt and professional in helping resolve revisions in the project scope. The design and the way the pontoon was packaged and delivered added to the “Zero Incidents” achievement during the installation of the Pontoon on site. I was satisfied with the product, price and customer service provided by Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment — Mackay.”

Steve Brushe
Site Manager — Projects

Brands used in this project