GHD contributes to Australian mining first

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28 October 2013

For the first time in Australia, an Earth Pressure Balance (EPB) Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) will be used to excavate access tunnels (drifts) for a coal mine in Queensland.

The TBM methodology for Anglo American’s Grosvenor metallurgical coal mine in Moranbah, south-west of Mackay, has been developed with the assistance of GHD, one of the world’s leading engineering, architecture and environmental consulting companies.

GHD is providing detailed design and owner’s engineer services for the project. Richard Fechner, GHD's Global Technical Leader, Energy & Resources says, “Anglo American is a key global client for GHD, and this project is a very important and exciting one for our team. We are providing a range of services from geotechnical investigations and detailed tunnel design, to reviewing the TBM specification, launch and excavation methodologies, and EPB operating pressures This will enable Anglo American to access the coal seam in a fraction of the time a traditionally excavated drift would take and provide a maintenance-free access tunnel structure for the life of the mine, expected to be 40 years.”

The 8 m diameter earth pressure balance TBM will excavate two 1 km long drifts from the surface to the coal seam. One drift will house the conveyor, while the other will be used to transport people and equipment into the mine.

Each drift will have an internal diameter of 7 m and consists of a steel fibre reinforced concrete segmental lining. After the first drift is completed, the TBM will be disassembled and extracted, leaving the shield in place. It will then be reset in a new shield for the second drive. Once the drifts are complete, the TBM components will be retained for use on other Anglo American projects.

GHD has used TBM methodology extensively for a range of recent projects, including the Legacy Way road tunnels in Brisbane, the Sugarloaf Pipeline Alliance in Victoria, the Melbourne Main Sewer and the Epping to Chatswood Railway Line in Sydney.

Longwall production at the Grosvenor mine is scheduled to begin in late 2016.

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For more information about this release, contact Kirill Reztsov

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