Twenty twenty-three looks set to be a big year for the construction and infrastructure industries as work begins on a number of large government-funded and private projects.
Despite the current uncertainties connected with the world economy — the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, the on-going war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions — Australia’s economy seems to be weathering the storm fairly well. A sure sign of this is the imminent beginning of several large-scale infrastructure projects in various parts of the country.
All of these projects look set to generate large numbers of job opportunities and inject huge amounts of money into local economies. So let’s take a tour around the country and have a look at four of these big jobs.
The Road Ahead
Roading infrastructure is one of the key factors in ensuring that cities function efficiently. Workers need to get to work, goods need to get around, out of and in to cities; and roading networks need to be safe, sustainable and resilient.
In Melbourne’s northern suburb of Epping, a major upgrade of Epping Road between Craigieburn Road and Memorial Avenue will ensure that the 35,000 drivers who use the road each day have a faster and smoother run to and from the city. The Epping Road upgrade is part of the A$3 billion Suburban Roads Upgrade project which will see major construction work undertaken on 2O arterial roads in Melbourne’s outer west, north, and eastern suburbs over the coming years.
The major focus of the Epping Road upgrade is the provision of safety barriers, cycle lanes, pedestrian access and traffic lights around the area’s shopping centres, services and local schools. Extra lanes in each direction will be added to the existing road along with upgrades to the following parts of the route including:
- New pedestrian traffic lights at Taggerty Grove.
- A shared cycle/walking path from Lyndarum Drive to Craigieburn Road East.
- Safety barries along the centre line of Epping Road.
- An on-road bike lane.
- Upgrades to the five existing intersections at De Rossi Boulevard, Baltrum Drive, Harvest Home Road, Lyndarum Drive and Craigieburn Road East.
Work is already underway
Site investigations to provide information about ground conditions and to identify existing subsurface infrastructure — gas, telecommunications, water, waste-water, power — have begun already. Work is also underway for relocating the existing Telstra telephone exchange from its current position to a location with a smaller footprint.
Along the edge of Epping Road are a number of historic dry stone walls built more than 100 years ago to form fences around paddocks where stock (especially sheep) were once kept. As part of the Epping Road project, some of these walls are being carefully disassembled and removed to new locations where they will be rebuilt. Spare stones will be made available for other local projects as needed.
For more information on this and other projects around the state of Victoria, check out the Big Build website here.
Copperhead Road and Nickelback.
Way out west, the go-ahead has been given for a new nickel- and copper-mining operation in the West Musgrave Ranges of Western Australia. This mine is operated by Australian company OZMetals, with the new mine looking to exploit the vast Babel nickel-copper deposits and the Succoth copper deposit.
The Red Ranges
The Musgraves lie 1,300 kilometres north-east of Perth near the intersection of the WA/SA/NT borders. It is the traditional home of the Ngaanyatjarra People and is part of the largest freehold Aboriginal province in Australia. The ranges extend from north to south between the Great Victoria Desert (Australia’s largest desert) and the Gibson Desert. Its highest point, Ngarutjaranya/Mount Woodroffe (1,435 metres) is South Australia’s highest peak.
Capturing the spark
Both nickel and copper are important minerals for the renewables industry. As alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power become more prevalent , and battery storage systems become more advanced and reliable, OZMinerals are leading the way in the development of mining operations that have a reduced carbon footprint.
Eighty percent of the new mine’s energy will be supplied by solar and wind. Over the mine’s expected lifespan — 26 years — the company intends to unlock one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of nickel, creating around 1,500 jobs, all of which will be sourced from local communities. FIFO operations will not form a part of the West Musgrove Project’s staffing structure.
Check out the OZMinerals website for more information about the West Musgrave Project.
Power from the Sun.
The town of Marulan, near Goulburn in New South Wales is set to become the location for a new 152 megawatt solar farm. The 1,400 hectare site will see the development of a solar array covering 375 hectares and consisting of approximately 360,000 solar panels.
People and panels
The scope of staffing levels and materials for the new solar farm are quite impressive! Here are a few of the numbers:
- 200-300 jobs during the construction phase and up to 50 casual staff engaged to maintain the solar panels once construction is completed.
- Between 24 and 55 inverter stations, each containing an inverter with a capacity of between 2.2 and 4.92 megawatts along with a 400V/33kV transformer.
- 1,500 cubic metres of sand for cable trenches and inverter bases.
- 44 truckloads of concrete (approximately 220 cubic metres) for the substation, inverter and maintenance building foundations.
- 8,728 tonnes of glass contained in the solar panels.
- 10,000 cubic metres of gravel for work and service roads, peripheral backfilling and site compaction.
- 827 tonnes of metal for the panel mounting systems.
- Up to 60,000 litres of water per day for dust control during construction along with 900 litres per day of potable water for staff to drink.
The project will include an extensive rehabilitation and planting programme once the construction phase is done. This includes re-establishing ground cover and the planting of native species to screen the location from identified visual impact locations.
You can find more detailed information about the Marulan Solar Farm on the Terrain Solar website.
An expansion of the New Acland open-cut coal mine in southern Queensland is set to generate around 600 new jobs and yield $1 billion for local contractors, workers and businesses. Let’s strip off some of the complicated layers and take a look at the project ahead.
The big pit
The old folk song 16 Tons — “you load sixteen tons and wadda you get…” — doesn’t quite do justice to the stupendous amounts of coal that will be dug from the Manning Vale West, Manning Vale East and Willeroo pits. The expansion of the New Acland mine’s existing pits is due to include these three new operations, producing up to 7 million tonnes per annum over a period of 12 years.
Along with the excavation of the new pits, the expansion of the New Acland Mine will also include:
- Construction of a new 8 kilometre rail spur line.
- Relocation and upgrade of the existing local telecommunication network.
- A new train load-out station and materials handling facility.
- Veneering of all coal leaving the mine to minimise dust. Read more about coal wagon veneering here.
From coal pit to farmland
A large part of the New Acland project is concerned with rehabilitating the land once mining operations have finished. The Acland Pastoral Company (APC) provides a progressive rehabilitation programme that returns mined land to both agricultural and conservation uses. The Acland area now has over 664 hectares of cattle-grazing land established on ground that has been mined, along with an extensive programme of replanting native tree species.
For further information about the New Acland Mine, visit their website here.
Keeping an Eye on Developments.
At STG Global we like to keep an eye on what’s going on around the country in terms of big projects…and small ones. Our range of plants is designed to cope with Australian conditions and to go the distance whatever the jobs they are required to do.
So if you’re in the market for a machine, give us a call. We’d be happy to talk over options with you or just chat about the big jobs going on around the Country.