SEATRANSPORT had been engaged to provide the entire feasibility study including scheduling, manning and procedure systems for both the McArthur River Mine (Bing Bong, NT) and Century Zinc Mine (Karumba, QLD) transhipment operations. SEATRANSPORT designed the vessels to suit the unique operations and in doing so, created the world’s first Bucketwheel Transhippers.

The vessel concepts and detailed construction designs, including the port geometry and berth layouts of each operation had been developed by SEATRANSPORT. Each were set up to allow easy and faster maneuvering, as well as easy maintenance access onto the vessels. SEATRANSPORT supplied the original crewing & management for the operations.

The port is taken to the product, instead of the product being taken to the port.


Bold Export Port Alternative
Small common user export facility (CUEF) – no major dredging, small capex mini port solution.
Environmental award winning designs, proven shallow water transshipment vessels.
Australia’s first CUEF mini port example is being completed at Lucky Bay in South Australia.


McArthur River Mine
SEATRANSPORT was engaged to provide a solution to a new export project of Lead-Zinc Concentrate in the Northern Territory, Australia. The solution required a shallow transhipper vessel to minimize dredging, as well as high manoeuvrability characteristics for reduce turn around time in the port and at the export ship.

Lead Zinc Concentrate is comparatively harder to work with compared to other commodities, due to its high toxic and corrosive properties as well as very high angles of repose because of its ‘sticky’ nature. This required a re-think of the conventional gravity fed transhippers, which would not work for such a product, so instead SEATRANSPORT used the ‘miners tool of choice’ and installed a positive displacement reclaimer system – bucketwheel. The shallow draft, 80m LOA, 3300DWT “MV Aburri” was also designed to be self-loading which meant she required a very simple fixed loading boom on the shoreside and no vessel warping required. SEATRANSPORT also designed and installed hydraulic grabs to eliminate the needs for mooring lines to secure the vessel alongside the berth, this also reduced the need for shore crew and costs.

McArthur River Mining Pty Ltd (MRM) began exporting Lead Zinc Concentrate through its port of Bing Bong, Northern Territory in 1995. The Lead Zinc Concentrate is transported from the mine to the port of Bing Bong loading facility by road. From there it is loaded onto the SEATRANSPORTSEATRANSPORT Transhipper and transported to waiting Panamax ships at sea in the Gulf of Carpentaria.


Century Mine
Century mine was Australia’s largest open-cut zinc mine which ran from 2000 until its mine life depletion in 2015. Located at Lawn Hill, 250km north-west of Mount Isa in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, the mine began open-pit production in 1999.

During its 16 years of operation, Century has produced and processed zinc and lead concentrates at Lawn Hill. The product has been transferred in slurry form via a 304km underground pipeline to Century’s Port facility at Karumba, then transhipped in the Gulf of Carpentaria.


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