The R1.34-billion investment in new stack reclaimers and shiploaders was officially switched on at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT).

Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, Aurecon, is the project manager on the massive project, which has so far involved the design, supply and erection of two 6 000 t/h rail-mounted stacker reclaimers and two 10 000 t/h rail-mounted shiploaders.

Reinvesting in the future of the RBCT has been a greatly rewarding project so far, says Peter Mihalik, Aurecon Major Project Manager.

“Like many companies that started in the mid-seventies, RBCT suffered from what can be called an Ageing Machine Syndrome. What was needed was the magic formula for when to replace complex, multifaceted machines such as the stack reclaimers and shiploaders.

“The original equipment had been built in 1976 and was designed for an operational life of 20 years. This is what led to the major equipment replacement strategy, of which the first phase has now been officially launched,” says Mihalik.

The two new stack reclaimers have replaced old equipment that had been used for over four decades. The two new shiploaders are operating at 99% efficiency, resulting in a vastly improved turnaround time on incoming vessels. The old electrical substations had to be reconfigured to accommodate the new equipment.