The Middlemount Early Rail Alliance is delivering an electrified rail spur from the South Goonyella Line to the Middlemount mine in central Queensland.
The Middlemount Coal Rail Spur project involves the planning, statutory approvals, design, construction and commissioning of the spur line. The alliance is a consortium between Middlemount Coal, John Holland and GHD.
Works being delivered by the alliance includes:
&bull    Approximately 16.8km of single track spur line with two train capacity at the balloon loop and a bad order siding
&bull    Civil works such as the undertaking of earthworks and construction of: drainage systems, bridgeworks, access roads, fencing and other civil engineering requirements
&bull    The construction of a track coupler unit and associated traction power systems infrastructure including any works required to integrate the new and existing power systems
&bull    The installation of a 25kV overhead traction wiring system for the length of the project including the integration with the junction mainline and
&bull    Roadworks, including a new two lane road over rail bridge and associated 1.5km realignment works where the rail spur crosses the existing Middlemount Dysart road.
GHD have responsibility for concept and detailed design of rail civil, structures, track and systems, geotechnical investigation and engineering, planning and approvals and environmental including verification of construction works.
John Holland has project delivery and management accountability including procurement, programming of works, and construction.
The alliance participants worked jointly on design approvals and stakeholder management.
A spokesperson for John Holland told Rail Express that the alliance continues to seek best practice delivery methodologies and has had a number of major successes.
“Highlights include a value for money target of delivering the project at no more than 85% of the agreed TOC through measures such as construction productivity gains through waste reduction, improvement on proposed methodologies, design improvements in detailed design and actively seeking innovation from site personnel, subcontractors and suppliers,” the spokesperson said.
Due to the climatic nature of the Central Queensland region, the alliance has also ability fast tracked stages of the project to avoid the wet season (November to April) and ensure the successful delivery of the project.
“Planning therefore considered and included measures such as ensuring necessary approvals were obtained early in the program, and allocating additional resources to drainage and earthworks for completion of the majority of the work ahead of the wet season,” the spokesperson said.
Other innovate programming includes flexible construction sequencing which utilises multiple stockpile sites to allow rail systems work to commence in areas as they become free as opposed to a continuous rolling work front.
“With this careful planning the project was running perfectly to schedule until the Queensland floods and impact of cyclone Yasi. Following these events, the alliance is working with the client to establish an alternative program to complete construction as early as possible following the severe weather conditions,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Gloucester Coal last Thursday upgraded the reserve estimate for the Middlemount project by 68% to 96 million tonnes, underpinning plans to increase production following commencement of operations in the December quarter.
Middlemount is a 50:50 joint venture between Gloucester and Australian coal producer Macarthur Coal in Central Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
Gloucester also advised that the capital cost of the project had risen to $500m, up 25% from earlier estimates, due mainly to creek and pipeline relocations required to access additional reserves, the impact of prolonged wet weather and a rise in construction costs, Gloucester said.
Middlemount is expected to produce a mix of 70% semi-hard coking coal and 30% low volatile pulverized coal injection or LV PCE coal used in steel making.