WA-based crushing contractor Rapid Crushing & Screening Contractors Pty Ltd placed 3 "shrink-wrapped" Komatsu WA600-6 wheel loaders on Barrow Island off the WA north coast one of Australia's largest resource projects and environmentally sensitive sites.

01022010KomatsuShrinkwrapLoadersInWA-(1).jpgThe three loaders are being used in the construction of a workers' village for the Chevron joint venture's $45 billion Gorgon natural gas project.

Rapid Crushing's contract involves crushing and screening of road base materials for the preparation of a 500 m by 500 m site for the construction village for the project which will house up to 3000 construction workers during the implementation phase of the project.

The project itself will be about 4 km away from the construction village.

It includes levelling the area, and crushing excavated material for use as roadbase and aggregate.

Under the contract, it will carry out the crushing and screening program simultaneously with other contractors performing the drilling , blasting and earthworks to construct the pad for the construction of the Village. with the three Komatsu loaders playing a key role in this.

A major challenge for the company is that strict environmental controls have been put in place with the construction operation to have no adverse impact on the environment including dust and noise outside of the 500m x 500m perimeter of the construction village.

Because Barrow Island is an "A class" nature reserve with very high conservation values, no contaminants are allowed on the island, said John George, Rapid Crushing and Screening's General Manager.

"It is a unique environment that has been separated from mainland Australia for thousands of years, and hosts native wildlife found nowhere else in the world," said John.

These include unique turtle populations, and perenties gigantic lace lizards or giant monitors that grow up to 2.5 m long.

"Nothing from the mainland: no seed, vermin or any other material can go on the island.

"This means we had to meticulously clean and then "shrink-wrap" all our machines in plastic for transportation to the island; then once the equipment was wrapped, we placed a fumigating canister inside the sealed plastic to kill vermin, seeds and anything else that could damage the environment.

"Everyone working on the island has responsibility for looking after the environment and ensuring the natural fauna and flora is not compromised," he said.

Rapid Crushing opted for three Komatsu WA600-6s for its crushing operations on the island for a variety of reasons.

One of the key factors was reliability.

"We recently traded one of our WA600-6s that had done 20,000 trouble-free hours and based on its performance purchased a brand new one which went to Barrow Island in September," said John.

Another was ease of maintenance and parts supply.

"Obviously with three of the same machines on the island, we have a very high degree of parts commonality so we don't have to hold so many parts on site, repairs will be quicker, and downtime will be further minimised," he said.

"Komatsu quality, reliability and having a common fleet makes management at a remote site like this so much easier.

"We've always found the service levels from Komatsu to be very good. Currently, we own 24 Komatsu loaders, ranging from WA470 to WA600."

Rapid Crushing and Screening has been in business for more than 30 years, building up its reputation for reliable service in mining and resources projects throughout Western Australia.

"It's quite an advantage for us being a privately owned company. It means we can remain very flexible: decisions are made very quickly, and we can act and react quickly something which is important for a contracting company in today's very competitive market," John said.