Authors: Nelson, J

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Nelson, J 2012, 'Case study – learning from an active deconstruction project', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2012: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 305-316,

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In support of its expanding iron ore mining, rail and shipping operations in the Pilbara, Rio Tinto Iron Ore (RT iron ore) owns and manages a rapidly expanding power network. After 40 years of operation, the Cape Lambert and Dampier power stations have met the end of their operating life and require deconstruction. The removal of this infrastructure will ensure that valuable industrial land is available for future expansion projects and reduce potential future liabilities of the sites. The planning process for a deconstruction project can easily overlook significant items that affect the financial commitment required and the schedule for the deconstruction works. The costs of facilities decommissioning and remediation are often overshadowed in mine closures but are significant and challenging for large complex infrastructure projects. Risks to deconstruction costs and project delays can arise from poor communication and when the distribution of responsibilities amongst stakeholders is poorly defined. Sources of additional cost and project delays can include a lack of clarity or agreement of the criteria for deconstruction (such as the depth of foundation and service removal), unforeseen requirements to maintain or modify existing services, additional decommissioning support, hazardous material disposal, environmental studies to support approvals and potential soil and water contamination management costs. This paper presents a case study of the project to deconstruct two of RT iron ore’s power stations, including lessons learned from the project that can be applied for use in planning other major facility deconstruction projects and for the development and maintenance of site closure plans.

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