Stockyard and Port Operation

Cape Preston is where Sino Iron’s magnetite concentrate is exported to its customers in Asia. It’s a shallow port with 12 outer anchorages and five inner anchorages, which means the cargo must be transhipped to Ocean Going Vessels (OGVs) using a combination of methods. The port on a regular basis loads up to 100,000 tonnes per day onto OGVs.   


Transhipment and export

Port Preston is the Pilbara’s first greenfield port to be built in more than 40 years - unlike traditional iron ore ports which require deep water channels to accommodate the massive tidal movements of the region, we use a transhipment method. A first in Western Australia, transhipment sees the product first loaded onto barges or a TSV at the loading berth along the breakwater. The barges are then towed offshore where a transhipper reclaims product from the barges and loads product onto larger OGVs. The TSVs are purpose-built, self-propelled vessels which use a gravity reclaiming system and a single point loading system to load the OGVs.

Stacking and logistics

The concentrate is stockpiled using two mobile rail-mounted stackers, each with a capacity of 4,000 tonnes per hour. The stockyard is made up of eight stockpiles with a combined capacity of up to 1.2 million tonnes per year.

The product is then reclaimed with automated rail-mounted reclaimers which are capable of reclaiming concentrate at a rate of 7,000-8,000 tonnes per hour. It’s then transported via a 4.4km conveyor system to the barge loading berth, from which the cargo is loaded onto transhipment shuttle self-unloading vessel (TSV) or barges.

Facts and figures

  • The stockyard is approximately 1.1km long and 250m wide.
  • The two stackers each have a capacity of 4,000 tonnes of concentrate per hour. 
  • The reclaimer has a nominal concentrate reclaim rate of 8,100 tonnes per hour and a peak claim rate of 10,500 tonnes per hour. 
  • The breakwater itself is 3.1km long.
  • Approximately 10,500 Core-Loc units are individually placed around the breakwater, which is designed to be able to refract the wave energy generated by a one in 100-year cyclone event.
  • Four barges are used, with carrying capacity ranging from 12,000 to 14,000 tonnes each. 
  • Four tugs are used, with bollard pull of 72 tonnes each. 
  • The transhipper and TSV have a concentrate outload capacity of 3,000 to 3,800 tonnes per hour each. 
  • 12 CITIC purpose-built vessels, with a capacity of 115,000 tonnes each, transport the concentrate to China.



Project Milestones