Pilbara Monorail

 
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
If the Financial Review of Fri 20 Feb 2015 page 19 is to be believed, Mineral Resources is to build a monorail to connect their iron ore mine with a port.

MinRes has patented its own design on monorail, with construction in China. Work will start in WA in December 2015.

The monorail is expected to carry 30 to 40 million tonnes of ore per annum.

The cost of the monorail is expected to be $2.4m per km, compared to $6m per km for conventional duorail.

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  GS4 Train Controller

It's April 1st already ???
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

If the Financial Review of Fri 20 Feb 2015 page 19 is to be believed, Mineral Resources is to build a monorail to connect their iron ore mine with a port.

MinRes has patented its own design on monorail, with construction in China. Work will start in WA in December 2015.

The monorail is expected to carry 30 to 40 million tonnes of ore per annum.

The cost of the monorail is expected to be $2.4m per km, compared to $6m per km for conventional duorail.
awsgc24
And it is not 1st April.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
And it is not 1st April.
nswtrains
Can we be absolutely sure that it's not 1st April?
  M636C Minister for Railways

The key words are 30 million tonnes per annum....

Fortescue are shipping 150 million tonnes per annum on a single track railway.

Mineral Resources are presumably looking for a solution that will give them a lower construction cost per tonne shipped if their mine isn't expected to reach the quantity that would justify a railway but a lower cost per tonne than road trucks.

I would guess that something like the Irish Lartigue system with  a raised single rail with two stabilising rails on triangular supports would be being considered. (probably without the double boiler 0-3-0 locomotives)

I have no good idea how big the "trains" would be nor how frequent. I imagine the number of "junctions" would be kept to a minimum since they would be complicated.

M636C
  GS4 Train Controller

If its being constructed in China maybe it is some form of conveyer belt or horizontal bucket loading system ?
  M636C Minister for Railways

If its being constructed in China maybe it is some form of conveyer belt or horizontal bucket loading system ?
GS4

Check out:

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/lartigue/lartigue.htm

Note the references to the low construction cost per mile.

Also check the illustration of the Magnesium carrying line in the Mojave Desert.

The track design would suit hopper "wagons" with side hatches.

But realistically, lets wait and see what MR come up with.

In the 1970s, it was said that the Hamersley Iron railway cost less to run than the conveyer belts at the port.

M636C
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Slurry pipelines are another alternative to heavy duorail or monorails:
* Savage River iron ore mine in Tasmania c1967 to present.
** See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savage_River,_Tasmania
** See: http://www.ask.com/wiki/Savage_River,_Tasmania?o=2802&qsrc=999&ad=doubleDown&an=apn&ap=ask.com

* Suggested but rejected for Sundance iron ore project in Cameroon
** See: https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11380146.htm
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
I was also thinking of a slurry pipeline like Savage River iron mine has used for many decades to deliver their ore to Port ?Laitana? near Burnie... However slurry pipelines usually require water. Western Tasmania has a huge over supply of the stuff, whereas there is almost no water in the Pilbra.

On the subject of non rail or road methods of moving ore and other bulk commodities, one of my specialities is aerial ropeways. They have been used in hilly areas across Australia, not just in Tassie. One ran in Victoria from Healesville Station to the Maroondah Dam construction site for several years ferrying vast amounts of concrete. But while suited to hilly areas, they're probably not the best for mostly flat semi-desert.

Not surprisingly, most aerial ropeways for minerals are built by companies that also build passenger ropeways such as gondolas and chairlifts. Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma have built dozens of mineral carrying ropeways in recent years. Here's the link to the Dopp website.

  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
According to this SMH article, it's "somewhere between a monorail and a train".

http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/mineral-resources-reveals-monorail-ambitions-20150219-13ifp3.html

What caught my attention is that it has been patented by the company, which would mean that there would be documents filed to support it, most likely including diagrams.

I did a quick search under "Mineral resources limited", but couldn't find anything.  Perhaps someone with a bit more time might have more luck.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Savage river mine Magnatite (Fe3O4) where as the Pilbra is usually Hematite (Fe2O3).

Main differences magnatite is magnetic so perhaps easier to remove from water at other end and it has a high Fe content per tonne so might help with costs. I have no idea on any other differences with regard to slurry transportation.

Savage River is also in the middle of the western Tasmanian Mountainous wilderness and while a railway originally did get within a 20-40km or so of the mine long before the mine was built (I think the railway branch to Waratah lasted into the late 40's, just), the rail route km would have been longer with the alignment and grade poor and hence increases rails costs significantly. The route is also barely 70km for the pipeline with I was told one booster pumping station mid way. The railway to Burnie (in use from junction to Burnie) would have needed a complete rebuild to handle the 1.5mtpa or so of ore. At its peak in the late 90's the EBR moved about 750ktpa using 4 trains a day with 18/20 wagons long with 15t axle loads, hauled by what were designed to be shunting locos. A far cry from anything in the Pilbra.

I think had there been a reasonable standard railway near the mine, they would have gone rail haulage.

Regards
Shane
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
So far nothing resembles a 'monorail' (to me anyway).
Cableways, conveyor belts maybe. Maybe the patent includes hot air balloons? We will wait and see..................
It's a media report so it could perhaps be two monorails 1,435 mm apart on sleepers?
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
It's a media report so it could perhaps be two monorails 1,435 mm apart on sleepers?
YM-Mundrabilla

Ah ha!  Duo-rail on mono-sleepers. Smile
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Savage river mine Magnatite (Fe3O4) where as the Pilbra is usually Hematite (Fe2O3).

Main differences magnatite is magnetic so perhaps easier to remove from water at other end and it has a high Fe content per tonne so might help with costs. I have no idea on any other differences with regard to slurry transportation.

Regards
Shane
RTT_Rules
The mines in the Middleback Ranges (Whyalla) mine both Magnatite and Hematite, Magnatite is pumped to Whyalla in a slurry pipeline, whilst Hematite is railed.
  sar602 Chief Train Controller

Location: Nomadic truckie
I don't quite understand the logic of this hole monorail plan, surely it would be far cost effective to build a conventional railway but to a lower standard similar to the former Goldsworthy railway or to Narrow gauge (Aurizon haul similar mtpa to Geraldton on NG), unproven technology plus the development costs etc what would they really save I assume it would require less earth works but substantially more steel and materials to build plus ongoing maintenance costs also how would they get around grade crossings, points, etc
  M636C Minister for Railways

I don't quite understand the logic of this whole monorail plan, surely it would be far cost effective to build a conventional railway but to a lower standard similar to the former Goldsworthy railway or to Narrow gauge (Aurizon haul similar mtpa to Geraldton on NG), unproven technology plus the development costs etc what would they really save I assume it would require less earth works but substantially more steel and materials to build plus ongoing maintenance costs also how would they get around grade crossings, points, etc
sar602
The Aurizon Mid West operation is almost entirely on existing track, much of it used in the very early 1960s for one of the earliest iron ore export operations, preceding those in the Pilbara. Some of the track dates back many decades earlier. Some sections of track, but by no means all, have been completely rebuilt on a new alignment. Almost all these mines road haul to the nearest rail head.

The Lartigue system does appear to have worked, having lasted from 1888 until 1924 for the Listowel and Ballybunnion and its closure was blamed on the Irish rebellion. That system does look to be pretty lightly built and it could have been cheaper to build than even a narrow gauge line (certainly that is claimed).

The 1924 US system (see the link above) doesn't look convincingly cheaper than a narrow gauge mining railway but it might be cheaper to build in very rough country.

I can't say anything about MRL's proposed system, except that I can't imagine it being economical to build if it used a lot more steel than the Lartigue system.

M636C
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
The Financial Review, in its issue of Monday 23 March, p13 & 18, and a follow-up article on the Pilbara Monorail including a picture.

The system is said to be a cross between a train, a monorail and a conveyer. It runs on piers lifting the track above the ground, reducing the amount of earthworks. A BOTS train might be 2km long, travel at 80km/h but haul only 4600T.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The mind boggles!
I won't even ask what BOTS stands for.Rolling Eyes
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
The mind boggles!
I won't even ask what BOTS stands for.Rolling Eyes
YM-Mundrabilla
Bogus Optical Transport System?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
The mind boggles!
I won't even ask what BOTS stands for.Rolling Eyes
YM-Mundrabilla
Bulk Ore Transportation System.
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
After a lot of "Please subscribe to read this article" websites, I managed to find this image of the proposed BOTS


If this is what it's going to be, I don't think "Monorail", or even "Monorail-like" is a proper description at all. Call a spade a spade, it's a Driverless Train.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Good luck to them to make that system cheaper to build and operate long term than a conventional rail system...reminds me of a certain Simpsons episode.
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

John,

That certainly looks like a driverless train, on a light railway. 2'6" perhaps? Interesting 2-4 axle battery (?) tractor concept. Such a system could be a return to the past European mine pit methods, no need for ore trucks if you are cutting the ore and conveying it straight onto light rail units in the pit and moving the pit track as you cut further in.

Starting to sound like Tranzit Jim there.

Cheers,
Hendo
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
John,

Starting to sound like Tranzit Jim there.

Cheers,
Hendo
Hendo
Heh,  

I was obviously more bored than I thought I realised... Smile

[img]http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i317/johnmcoz/Jims8446-1-eng-GB_minres-bots_zpsfjhi51uk.jpg[/img]
  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
There is one monorail system that is most definitely cheaper to build than even the lightest conventional railway.

A single rail is laid across the terrain with a single wheeled conveyance run on the rail. The monowheel has 2 flanges with a cargo space above it and an arm extending on one side. This arm is attached to a saddle on a horse which kept it balanced and powered it along.

A few such lines were built in South America to carry goods on portages between navigable rivers.


Some of this design even used locomotives,  >>>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thorold

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