Superior floats pumps for Glencore


Superior recently constructed two custom-designed and built pontoons for an operational mine site for Glencore in Mt Isa.

The pontoons were designed to support two 11 Tonne pumps for a new stormwater dam.

Glencore Project Engineer, Joel O’Neill said the pumps are twice as large as generally used and the job posed a few challenges for Superior.

“The site is surrounded by large machinery, so access is tricky. Then, there was no site to inspect – it was under construction at the time and will be empty for a while until the rains come, anywhere from now until February. We don’t get much rain – maybe two or three days a year – but when it comes, it’s torrential.”

Glencore chose Superior for its expertise in flotation and managing large projects from concept to completion, also on recommendation from the pump supplier, and for its competitive price.

Superior’s in-house engineering design office undertook the design drawings on the project, with full design reports and calculations made available as part of the offering. With a few modifications at the final stages, the 15 x 9m structure was built in a collaboration by Superior’s industrial steel fabrication shop and roto-moulding production.

The entire system will float on a steel frame, complete with GRP decking, unsinkable positive flotation modules and a steel skid base for ease of handling. EDGE 1 handrails have been installed to ensure worker safety when operating the pumps, refuelling and testing the water.

Superior’s Johan Tan said the pontoons had to be stacked because of the 11 Tonne weight of the pumps. “It was a challenge to arrange pontoons in a suitable array so they are fit for purpose,” he added.

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