Mine owner Vale was looking for an efficient way to build a nickel processing plant on a remote location in Newfoundland, where not enough people were available to build the plant within the desired time frame. Instead of relocating an entire work force, Vale decided to build the plant elsewhere and deliver most of it with barges. Mammoet was contracted to transport and install the processing plant in modules. In a highly complex logistic operation, Mammoet delivered 600 parts in a predetermined order from numerous locations to the secluded site.
Relocating construction to avoid relocating people
After consulting Vale during the design phase, Mammoet faced the task of transporting the modules from many different production sites in the U.S. and Canada. The job included varied tasks – shipment coordination, weighing services, load-out services, sea-fastening, marine transportation, load-in services, land transportation and installation services at the mine site.
On the last three kilometers over land, the transport had to conquer slopes with an incline as steep as 6%. And of course, Vale wanted to start using the facility sooner rather than later.
Mammoet brought an impressive amount of equipment to get the job done in a relatively short timeframe. The inventory of specialized resources included 10 barges and tugs, 250 axle lines of SPMT, climbing jack systems, hydraulic trailers, rough terrain cranes, and over 180 professionals to safely operate it all.
For two-and-a-half years, Mammoet was active on various locations all over North America. While the transport teams picked up and delivered modules of up to 1,200 tons, the crew on site installed the parts as they came in. This parallel work schedule resulted in considerable time savings for Vale.
Partnering with Mammoet well in advance gave Vale the opportunity to optimize the design of the plant using modular construction techniques. The plant could be built simultaneously in multiple areas with larger labor pools rather than the smaller and more expensive pools available in Newfoundland.
Costs aside, this type of parallel construction significantly shortened the overall production schedule – readying the plant for mining much sooner than any other approach could have done.