Record Rotabox rate ready for critical minerals

NSS is well positioned to support the emerging critical minerals industry.

Critical minerals include those used in boutique and strategic applications including renewable energy generators, communications and semi-conductors.

The Townsville-based facility has an established service catering for bulk ore
in the form of Rotabox applications.

The versatility of the system was proven during the last wet season when NSS’ triple road trains were able to continue a service to the coast after floods cut the rail line.

Record Rate

The process had been developed to the point where NSS was now considered to offer the highest Rotabox productivity rate in the country, said Logistics Manager David Vass.

“That’s an average 20 containers an hour you’re loading generally, which are around 24.9 tonnes (each),” David said.

“We were loading 1,100 or 1,200 tonnes an hour; at one stage there we had two cranes going, which is more than the actual ship-loaders.

“Obviously it’s more labour and machinery, but we can ramp up to load vessels quicker if we need to running two cranes, (and) two rotor boxes.”

“So the good thing about half heights and rotaboxes, is they are mobile, (and) we can do it on various berths. It’s a lot less costs to get running.”

Rotaboxes are attached to a shore crane which lift them into the hold of a ship and rotate them 180 degrees to unload.

They’re used where ship loaders, which

are a conveyor system, are unavailable or the second choice for reasons including dust control, David said.

The Rotabox system aligned with the production of smaller volume, higher value resources like critical minerals being developed in North-West Queensland, he said.

“Due to our environmental procedure we also have to run a high-pressure mist spray around the top of the hatch.

“So when we’re actually tipping, we turn the sprays on, it puts a fine mist and it captures the fine dust particles where the ship load is.

“We can operate in any wind condition. For instance, (the ship-loader) out on Berth 11, I think as soon as they get over certain wind levels they have to stop loading.”

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