Overland Conveyor Belt Change Facilities


Tom Price, Pilbara, Western Australia


Rio Tinto


+61 8 6375 9100


We supported Rio Tinto through multiple project phases that included option identification, optioneering, equipment selection and detailed design through to implementation and close out support for the Overland Conveyor (OC) replacements at Western Turner Syncline (WTS). We provided multidisciplinary services spanning civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering.

Our scope of work encompassed the suitability and modification of belt changeout sites and the design of belt reeling platforms, splicing stations, clamp stations and belt flaking layouts for the four overland conveyors and the stacking conveyor, including auxiliary belt pulling drives specific for the changeouts.

During the WTS1 greenfield project construction phase, cost optimisation led to the OCs being constructed without belt replacement or belt splicing facilities. Since installation in 2014, these belts had not been replaced and were approaching their end of usable life.

In particular, the CV2104 conveyor belt which is 12 km long (25 km tape length) and the longest in the company’s fleet is a critical component for both plant and production operations. Rio Tinto required a solution to allow these belts to be replaced according to their planned maintenance schedule which involved years of pre-planning.

Through our involvement over the past 4-5 years, BG&E Resources (BGER) identified an innovative approach to develop layouts that maximised the efficiency of the belt replacement and minimised impacts on existing road networks.

Tony Daniel, Program Manager – Sustaining Capital says, “This allowed the rest of the plant to continue operating during belt change-out, minimising the risk of lost production and work required during shutdowns.”

The low-risk solution optimised belt changeout to simplify earthworks, eliminating the need to source fill materials as well as reducing risk to ethnographic sites. By developing a relocatable solution, the scope of the project was optimised, thereby removing the need for the fabrication of duplicate items and overland power supply by utilising portable, temporary power controls.

“This complex multidisciplinary brownfield project is a testament to BGER’s commitment to delivering high quality sustaining capital works,” adds Tony.

About the Project

Rio Tinto’s WTS mine is an iron ore production hub located 35 km northwest of Tom Price in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It encompasses both the WTS Phase 1 and Phase 2, where the latter is an expansion of the existing mine designed to help sustain the production capacity of Rio Tinto’s world-class iron ore business.

The upgrades of this facility will enable the mining of existing and new deposits and include the construction of a new crusher as well as a 13km conveyor.

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