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Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation

Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation (Baffinland)’s Mary River mine site on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada is one of the most northern mines in the world. Amongst the richest iron ore deposits ever discovered, the Mary River Property consists of nine-plus high-grade iron ore deposits that can be mined, crushed, and screened into marketable products. Baffinland Iron Mines’ phase two project revolves around infrastructure for bulk commodity mining which will see the construction of a new 110km rail track as well as a second dock and moving crushing and screening processes to the port. With these upgrades, the project intends to increase production rates to keep up with competitors and will boost the local economy and offer more employment. Shay Murtagh Precast were contracted by Hatch to supply primary crusher foundation blocks, primary crusher ramp retaining walls, primary crusher stacking conveyor/ rail loading stockpile support-retaining wall blocks, rail car dumper basement beams, crusher and screening building strip foundations and concrete barriers. The units will be essential in facilitating a higher labour productivity rate on-site.

Shay Murtagh Precast took on the project despite the obvious logistic challenges.

Manufacturing of these foundation block units began in June 2017 with a strict deadline due to geographical nature. There was no room for delay due to seasonal changes of the location of the client. Loosing time would have prevented delivery for another seven months. The initial designs were created by Hatch which held Canadian standards, Shay Murtagh worked closely and created new moulds to the required designs. A trial assembly was completed in house in Raharney, which the Client and designer visited for final inspection before shipping. A combined total of over 350m ³ was used in the production of the precast units. A special mix of concrete was formulated to create all concrete units in line with the requirements of the designer. The formula ensured the longevity of the units which best suited the temperatures and artic conditions without the risk of cracks or premature erosion. All units were of a large scale with the smallest weighing 7 ton and the largest unit weighting a 60 ton.


RRS Sir David Attenborough at Liverpool Cruise Terminal 5

The precast products were transported from the Shay Murtagh headquarters in Raharney to Dublin port. The majority of the products were heavy and wide loads which summed up to 216 units. These foundation block units were transported in 160 separate loads. They were then loaded onto the Wagenborg- one of the largest ships to have entered Dublin port. Loading took four days to complete and required a dedicated logistics team to manage the operation and a tight deadline to ensure the 5,500 tons of precast were jig-sawed correctly and balanced within the ship. The artic conditions of Baffin Island, presented logistical challenges for delivery through sea freight, thus necessitating detailed planning. Prior to transportation of the loads a trial erection took place in Raharney to ensure no errors had been made and that the highest quality standards had been met. Upon arrival at Milne port, the foundation block units were offloaded at bay and brought by barge to shore as the Wagenborg was too large to dock at port.



Shay Murtagh Precast are proud to have worked on the Mary River Project, and has opened the door to future work as Baffinland build sustainable infrastructure for the future growth of their area. While challenged with design criteria differences and concrete mix technical specifications, the SMP team have developed long standing relationships in the area and look forward to the next challenge they set.

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Date: 30 April 2024

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