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Contract awarded for ‘national first’ project

BHP wind fence
BHP wind fence

A construction company won the primary tender for one of Australia’s first air quality developments in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

A subsidiary of CIMIC Group recently secured the head contract for BHP’s Wind Fence Project in Port Hedland.

From August 2022 CPB Contractors will build three fences at BHP’s Nelson Point and Finucane Island operations. The 14-month task will create up to 150 jobs, from which up to 10 per cent will be offered to Indigenous Australians.

The 30 metre high and 2km-long structures are designed to withstand cyclones, reduce wind speeds, shield stockpiles and minimise the risk of dust lift-off. They achieve this through adding mesh panels to abate, and prevent net increases in, dust emissions if operations are expanded in future. When wind speeds reach a certain limit the mesh curtain opens to let air flow through the fence.

“Wind fences will be constructed using global best practice dust management and air quality control technology,” BHP port general manager Cindy Dunham said in a public statement.

“The wind fence project is a key part of our commitment towards continued improvement of our existing dust control measures as we look to continue growing production over time.”

CPB is “very pleased” with being the successful bidder.

“Construction of the wind fences will involve the fabrication of 3000 tonnes of structural steel. This work will be undertaken here in WA and will be a major boost to local industry,” CPB general manager WA, SA and NT Andrew Giammo said.

“Throughout the life of the project, we will also be looking to maximise opportunities for Indigenous businesses and employment.”

The project was subject to internal and State Government approvals at the time of publication.

BHP is spending up to $300 million over the next four years as part of its broader Pilbara Air Quality Program. Other projects include:

  • trialling vegetation barriers in partnership with Curtin University and Greening Australia to help capture natural and industry dust before it impacts the West End of Port Hedland
  • implementing and optimising operational dust control projects across the entire Pilbara supply chain – such as moisture management systems, ore conditioning and monitoring infrastructure – as well as improvements across existing controls at mines and ports.

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AMSJ April 2022