Image: Banana Spout: Technology innovation

Minerals & Metals2 min read

Banana Spout: Technology innovation

Rio Tinto
Oil Sands

“Our entire cash-flow depends upon, and will pass through, this tiny spout on its way to the world markets.”

The quote above, made by the perceptive CEO of one of the world’s largest copper producers as he peered down on a “tiny” 600 mm diameter spout, encapsulates the importance of efficient loading spouts.

At Ausenco, we understand how critical this link in the transportation chain can be. That’s why we used our 85 years of innovation, experience and technical expertise in the ports and terminals industry to challenge existing technology and develop a spout with improved handling, safety, trimming and outreach potential, all without compromising maintenance or reliability issues when handling difficult products.

Successfully implemented and in operation today, Ausenco’s Banana Spout™ technology was initially developed to increase the capacity and outreach of a copper concentrate ship loader operating in Chile. At that time, there was no existing spout design appropriate for the concentrate which would achieve the client’s desired outreach of 6 meters from the centre of the discharge point. Ausenco’s solution, the curved Banana Spout™, achieved a controlled copper concentrate trajectory of 6 meters, with the added benefit of minimal dust generation.

Based on the success of that project, the Banana Spout™ has since been trademarked and used on a number of projects, including the PT Freeport ship loader replacement and environmental upgrade in West Papua and the Bontang coal export terminal expansion in East Kalimantan.

Key features

  • Improved handling, safety, trimming and outreach potential;
  • Relief valves provided to ensure that the spout ‘yields’ if it should accidentally hit the coaming of the vessel being loaded;
  • Can be tucked under the boom for parking and for clearing ship’s gear;
  • Effective with free-flowing products, such as coal, in addition to concentrates.

Key projects

  • Ship loader Replacement and Environmental Upgrade, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., PT Freeport Indonesia – acted as consulting engineer and designer of a new ship loader at a concentrate export facility in West Papua. The fully enclosed slewing ship loader incorporates the Banana Spout™ to dramatically reduce spillage and improve trimming.
  • Bontang Coal Export Terminal Expansion, P.T. Indominco Mandiri – provided design and construction supervision for material handling systems, including a rail-mounted, quadrant-type ship loader, at a new coal mine in Bontang, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
  • Ship loader Boom Replacement, Fluor Daniel, Inc. for Minera Escondida Limitada – acted as sub-consultant to Fluor Daniel for an upgrade of the ship loader and marine facilities at Escondida’s copper mine in Chile. As part of the terminal upgrade, the Banana Spout™ was incorporated to allow concentrate to be distributed efficiently anywhere in the hold.