The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter is owned and operated by Nickel West, a division of BHP Billiton. It has the capacity to produce up to 110,000 tonnes of nickel matte per annum. Replacement of the aisle crane and modification of the aisle crane structure were required to comply with the latest Australian standards.

The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter is about 600 kilometers east of Perth, Western Australia. 

Tetra Tech Proteus’s principal objectives for the engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) were as follows:

  • Review the existing building condition
  • Assess the structural changes to be made
  • Liaise with smelter personnel regarding the options required for the remedial work
  • Implement and manage the agreed-upon approach

The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter had indicated that the project needed to minimize any impact on production during the changeover, while at the same time ensuring a safe working environment. The work needed to fit in with the existing refinery shutdown schedule. The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter also noted that improved access to the aisle was a critical issue.

Tetra Tech Proteus developed and costed two project execution options (as a concept at selection phase) and provided recommendations for the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter. Nickel West selected the option that provided the lowest business interruption risk.

This project was executed during shutdowns and required detailed planning and required close communication with smelter personnel to coincide with their schedules. The smelter is a brownfields operation, and the aisle crane is located on a very compact footprint. The work was conducted on schedule and with no recordable incidents.