Believed to be a world-first, a South Australian-developed innovation to load containerised iron ore from a land base to an off-shore vessel has been successfully trialled in seas off the Adelaide coast at Largs Bay. Developed in South Australia by IronClad Mining – an Australian company on the verge of mining iron ore from SA’s Eyre Peninsula – the “multi-user” system has the flexibility to be used for transhipment of bulk commodities other than iron ore. The company believes the innovation has the potential to revolutionise the way some bulk commodities are loaded onto vessels for export – anywhere in the world.“This world-first style of off-shore transhipment operation has been designed, developed and fine-tuned exclusively in South Australia,” IronClad Mining Chief Executive Officer, Robert Mencel, said. “We are not aware of anywhere else in the world where this same system is in operation, and believe it has the potential to revolutionise the loading of some bulk commodities onto offshore anchored vessels. The system we have developed is a flexible, low capital, cost-effective, export solution for a range of commodities – not just our iron ore – that has the potential to be used in an off-shore environment anywhere in the world. You don’t have to build deep sea ports worth hundreds of millions of dollars to export your commodities to market.”IronClad plans to utilise the system, initially, to transport Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) from its Wilcherry Hill iron ore project near Kimba, on the State’s Eyre Peninsula, to a vessel positioned seven nautical miles off Lucky Bay. The DSO will be transported initially by road from the mine site to a stockpile storage facility approximately 1.5 km from the port of Lucky Bay, which is located about 120 km south of Whyalla. From there it will be loaded into air-tight containers and tractor transported to the portside hardstand before being loaded by crane onto dumb barges. Tugs will then take the barges about seven nautical miles out to sea where a barge mounted crane –will be moored.The floating crane will then load the ore from the containers into Panamax or Cape-sized vessels anchored alongside it. The containers are lifted from the barge utilising custom made “Rotainers” fitted to the crane and lowered into the ship’s hold. Here the rotainers tip the containers upside down, emptying their contents. A dust suppression system on the vessel will assist in minimising dust emissions. The loading vessel will be anchored in such a position that its hull creates a “lee” – or calmer water – against the wind and swell, ensuring the floating crane and barges can safely operate in most weather conditions. To become fully operational, the system requires the purchase or lease of two dumb barges, a barge mounted crane, two tugs and approximately 300 containers, in which the ore will be transported out to sea. Discussions are in progress with specialised lending institutions to fund the acquisition of the port fleet.