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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Nyrstar Port Pirie Redevelopment

Nyrstar Port Pirie Redevelopment

The Port Pirie smelter on the eastern shore of the Upper Spencer Gulf in SA has been in operation for more than 127 years and in 2015, Nyrstar embarked on a half-a-billion-dollar Redevelopment project, which involved the conversion of operations into an advanced metal recovery and refining facility. Key aspects of the Redevelopment project included the replacement of the existing sinter plant with an oxygen enriched bath smelting furnace as well as replacement of the existing sulfuric acid plant with one that has greater capacity and upgraded technology. In January, the $660 million metals processing plant was officially commemorated. 

Max Cranes was engaged to assist across a number of disciplines, including the supply of heavy haulage for transportation of equipment from the berth ships to nominated laydown areas throughout the site. Max Cranes was also engaged to supply heavy and complicated lifting solutions on various aspects throughout the construction phase of the project.

As part of its work, the company developed many detailed lift studies and implemented and performed these to an exceptionally high standard. All of which led to a safe and efficient outcome on all crane lifts.

Prior to the Redevelopment project engaging the company, a Max Cranes heavy lift manager scoped all works to ensure the correct crane was nominated to perform the required lift(s). As different work fronts ran parallel to each other on a 24/7 basis, it was crucial that the planning/machine choice was available within Max Cranes’ fleet.

“A variety of cranage capacity was required throughout the construction phase, including 500t, 400t, 250t, 220t, 180t, 130t, 100t, 60t and Franna Cranes, which were engaged in the Top Submerged Lance (TSL) and Acid Plant areas for the heavy lift requirements and also for their ability of reach,” Kuhn said.

“If efficiencies could be found across lifts – i.e. using a larger crane already on-site to undertake a smaller lift, whilst providing economic efficiencies – our heavy lift and operations team ensured that this was clearly communicated to the project team.”

Kuhn acknowledged that given the nature of the large-scale project, there were potential challenges at every turn.

“But with an open line of communication with the construction team, any issues that arose were resolved promptly,” Kuhn said.

“There were many achievements celebrated over the construction period which Max Cranes were proud to be a part of. One of the main areas Max Cranes was proud to be associated with was the safety effort by all.”

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