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Marr awarded PKSW contract

Marr Contracting (Marr) has been awarded the contract to provide heavy lifting services on the BlueScope No. 6 Blast Furnace (6BF) Reline Project at the Port Kembla Steelworks (PKSW).

In August 2023, BlueScope announced approval of its plans to reline and upgrade the previously dormant blast furnace in order to secure the Illawarra region’s steelmaking capacity beyond 2026 when the existing No. 5 blast furnace (5BF) completes its current production campaign.

One of only two major steelmaking plants in Australia, PKSW employs approximately 3,500 people and indirectly supports an additional 5,500 jobs in the Illawarra. The AU$1.15 billion project will include the furnace reline, repair and upgrade of ancillary plant equipment and AU$100 million of environmental improvement upgrades that will enable the plant to maintain production while at the same time investing in lower emissions steelmaking technologies as they emerge to ensure the future economic benefits of steelmaking for Australia.

As an alternative to using a 600-tonne crawler crane, the single-crane solution adopted – using one of Marr’s 330-tonne capacity M2480Ds installed on a specifically-design 7.5 x 7.5m piled foundation – provides the heavy lifting capacity required with the additional benefits of a small footprint and long reach across the project.

With minimising disruption to production at PKSW by ensuring that 6BF is available for operation prior to the end of 5BF’s campaign a priority, Marr’s solution also helps to mitigate risk to critical path by providing the project with an instant cranage solution for unscheduled lifting and emergent work during the relining process.

“Occassionally, we come across a project where the perfect solution immediately presents itself like a hand in a glove.This has been one of those projects and by working closely with the BlueScope team early in the planning stages, it has been possible to develop a simple solution that will reduce complexity and help to secure the tight construction program,” said Marr’s Managing Director, Simon Marr.

According to PKSW Project Director, Justin Reed, “The capability and capacity of Marr’s tower crane is a true game-changer for our project. At vertical industrial sites like a Blast Furnace we have always wished there was a ‘sky-hook’ that could deliver a lift at any point on the plant, and now we have a solution with significant lifting capacity. Marr’s team are challenging our traditional thinking by enabling large sections of equipment that were previously maintained in situ to be lifted to ground for repairs or replacement.”

BlueScope anticipates that the 6BF will be recommissioned in mid-2026.