Cape Lambert Port B Marine Works

Cape Lambert Port B Marine Works, WA

With a combined value of $276 million, this two phase project significantly increased Rio Tinto's annual export capacity. The Cape Lambert Marine Works project involved construction of a new port facility adjacent to the existing Cape Lambert Port terminal.

This included the construction of a 920 metre jetty and 440 metre two-berth wharf with 18 berthing dolphins, new ship loading facilities, piping and associated works. The structure was designed to maximise modularisation of the works in order to reduce the site man hours.

Numerous engineering and environmental innovations were implemented on this project including:

  • Sponge-jet abrasive blasting -  this technology uses pea-size pieces of synthetic sponge impregnated with various ‘micro’ abrasives. Like garnet blasting, the sponge media is blasted from a ‘pot’ through a hose and out a nozzle. When the sponge media is blasted onto a surface, it flattens against the surface. Upon contact, it removes surface materials such as paint. This method greatly reduces the amount of airborne dust and the quantity of blast media required.  
  • Soft-start piling - to minimise the potential underwater noise impacts on marine fauna during pile driving activities, a ‘soft start’ approach was used to relocate marine fauna in the vicinity. The ‘soft start’ involves commencing pile driving with a partial capacity strike before normal pile driving begins. 
  • Electro-slag welding - this is an automated electro-welding process where wire is turned into molten liquid. With its own built-in cooling system, the equipment can produce 2.4m long, 32mm deep plate welds in approximately 90 minutes, instead of the 40 hours it would take manually. The equipment is a major time-saving device that reduces labour costs and produces more consistent welding. 
  • Marine exclusion zones to minimise the effect on marine wildlife.
  • Placement of a full time marine fauna observation boat on site during piling to spot marine wildlife, meaning that piling activities were not permitted to start when turtles were within 500m of a piling front or when whales were within 2,500m.


  • Winner of the 2014 Australian Construction Achievement Award (ACAA)
  • Winner of the Crane Industry Council of Australia - Smart Infrastructure Award