Cape Lambert – Jetty and Dolphin Upgrade Project

Pilbara Region, Australia

Award of Merit

Submitted By: Aurecon

Owner: Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Lead Design Firm: Aurecon

General Contractor: Austral Construction

Considering that iron ore is one of Australia’s largest sources of export revenue, it was critical to replace deteriorating dolphin wharf structures at one of Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s biggest export facilities on time. Completed at a fully operating port, the team extended access to work areas by replacing aging structures with minimal impact to operations.

A digital twin and digital surveying in the early design of the dolphin replacements reduced upfront construction cost risks for Rio Tinto Iron Ore. Installing piles between a forest of demolished piles from previous dolphin structures was assisted by integrating multilayered LiDAR and sonar survey results into a 3D digital twin. This helped inform design decisions and provide early detection of potential installation clashes. A virtual reality simulation created with the 3D model’s data helped the owner “gain a better appreciation of the project’s construction and operational risks and proposed mitigation measures,” the team says.

Another challenge arose when the geophysical survey discovered a tectonic fault line, subsequently confirmed via drilling. This required the team to reduce pile tension forces into the ground. After reviewing the existing vessel berthing procedures, the team determined previous seismic capacity specifications weren’t required. This not only helped lower tension forces and ease anchoring requirements, it also reduced the project’s overall capital expenditure.

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