Tholoana Sustainable Development and Environmental Consultants

Port of Saldanha EIA


Andrew Woghiren was on the team of Environmental Scientists and Project Managers that worked on the Phase 1B and Phase 2 Expansions of the Iron Ore Handling Facility at the Port of Saldanha. From 2005 to late 2008 he fulfilled various functions on the environmental project management of this capex project. 

South Africa’s only dedicated iron-ore handling facility was established in 1977 at the Port of Saldanha, which is located 120 km north of Cape Town in the Western Cape.  The facility also caters for other dry bulk exports on a smaller scale. Iron-ore, predominantly from iron ore mines in Sishen, Northern Cape, is transported by a 228 wagon train along the 841km Sishen - Saldanha railway line to the Saldanha Bay. These wagons are decoupled into shorter and more manageable units at the Salkor Shunting Yard, located about five kilometres north of the port. From the Salkor Yard the shorter trains are shunted towards the port for unloading. These shorter trains are powered by electricity. Once at the port the ore is off-loaded using a tippler system designed to turn the ore-loaded wagon upside down, dumping the ore into an underground conveyor belt system. This system of conveyor belts is carefully designed to stockpile ore of different grades and specifications to meet the overseas market requirements.




When an iron-ore carrier ship arrives at the port, a large crane-like structure known as a Stacker-Reclaimer is used to retrieve ore from the stockpiles, placing it onto conveyor belts that feed the ship-loading system, the Ship-loaders then load the ore from the conveyor belts into the holds of the iron-ore bulk carrier ships.

In 2005 a contract to undertake the environmental impact assessment for phase two of the proposed expansion of the Saldanha iron-ore terminal was awarded to a joint venture of independent environmental consultants, SRK Consulting and PD Naidoo & Associates. 

The proposed expansion entailed upgrades to Salkor Rail yard, which is located five kilometres north of the port and upgrades of the iron-ore handling infrastructure at the port, including the MR 559 Road bridge diversion. Two new tipplers, three new stockpile areas, three new Stacker Reclaimers and a new conveyor system to convey from tipplers to stockpiles were also to be built. A new iron-ore Sampling plant and two new ship loaders as well as two new ship berths were planned.

In line with global best practice design standards, Transnet plans to lessen environmental impacts by implementing water spray system to reduce dust levels, chemical additive dust suppression system, wind sheeting for conveyors, dust extraction plants as well as noise reduction equipment on the rail wagons.

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