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Building a giant

With construction now more than 85 per cent complete, South Flank is getting ready to rock.

Progress at BHP’s biggest construction project has barely skipped a beat in the last nine months, despite the controls required to manage the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, the site has never been busier.

The line-up of the project’s new Ore Handling Plant (OHP) now stands tall inside the rail loop, the conveyor runs that link the three main screening and crushing buildings looking like a giant roller coaster.

Most of the modules that have been used to build the plant are now on site, and attention is now on preparing for commissioning.

November will see a critical shutdown reconfigure the stockyard’s fixed machinery, adding new conveyors and transfer stations that will change how ore flows through the stockyard, in preparation for the expanded iron ore hub.

At the yard’s eastern end, the world’s biggest rail-mounted bucket wheel reclaimer is being assembled, its 65 metre booms held in a temporary cradle while the buckets are affixed. Next to it, two equivalent record-breaking stackers are nearing completion.

A few hundred tonnes of ore from one of the two pits has already been run through the OHP, to test it for handling and quality, and help prepare for the First Ore milestone next year.