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First transhippers land at Onslow Iron

Metro Mining transhipper makes home in Queensland

The first two transhippers have arrived on site at Mineral Resources’ (MinRes) Onslow Iron project in Western Australia.

Both transhippers – the MinRes Airlie and MinRes Coolibah – were first moved on a Cosco Shipping heavy lift vessel.

The specialised vessel, Xin Guang Hua, was then partially submerged so the transhippers could be lifted onboard for travel. Xin Guang Hua then set voyage to the Port of Dampier in the Pilbara region.

Once the transhippers arrived at the port, they were unloaded and towed to anchorage and linked to a pair of tugs named MinRes Thor and MinRes Odin.

The successful delivery of the transhippers follows successful sea trials carried out off the Zhoushan port in China.

MinRes said its transhippers have a shallow 7m draft when loaded with 20,000 tonnes, which evades the need to construct a deep-water port and reduces Onslow Iron’s environmental footprint.

“There is no other dedicated marine or resource company that has an Australian-flagged fleet as large as MinRes Marine,” MinRes executive general manager marine Jeff Weber said. “That’s quite extraordinary considering two years ago MinRes Marine didn’t even exist.

“The first two transhippers have arrived at the Port of Ashburton, the third arrives mid-2024, the fourth by the end of this year and the fifth in early 2025. Those five vessels will get us to an annual capacity of 35 million tonnes per annum.”

The initial fleet of five transhippers will eventually expand to seven.

In the meantime, MinRes Airlie and MinRes Coolibah will undergo commissioning at the Port of Ashburton ahead of the first ore loading onto the ship in mid-2024.

MinRes will also continue the construction and sea trials of the remaining three transhippers by adopting a staged approach.

In late April, the first convoy of road trains with autonomous haulage solutions technology arrived at Onslow Iron.

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