Heavy lifting

AN EMERGING Chinese heavy industry player has its sights setting on growing its foothold in the Australian market.
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Several large ship engine crankshafts at the DHHI factory.

Noel Dyson

Dalian Huarui Heavy Industry has a number of product lines, with its materials handling business probably its most direct link to the mining sector.

It has already provided bulk material handling equipment for BHP’s Groote Eylandt manganese operation, the Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region and Rio Tinto’s Weipa alumina operation in Queensland.

That equipment has ranged from ship loaders, ship unloaders, stackers, reclaimers and car dumpers.

The company’s operations go much further afield than that though. It is one of two companies making the crankshafts for the giant engines that power Valemax iron ore carriers heading from Brazil to China.

DHHI also makes polar cranes and has one sitting its yard awaiting despatch to a nuclear station in the UK. A polar crane is similar to a gantry crane except it is mounted on a circular track. They usually sit within the domed interior of a nuclear power plant and can be used for reactor head removal and replacement and for refuelling operations.

The company has nine major product areas: metallurgical machinery, hoisting machinery, bulk material handling machinery, port machinery, energy machinery, drive and control systems, marine components, engineering machinery and offshore engineering machinery

DHHI chairman Cong Hong said the company wanted to grow its international business.

“DHHI’s aim is to develop the company into an international service-oriented manufacturing enterprise group with a core value of high end heavy equipment both in research and fabrication,” he said.

Cong said the company aimed to have international business making up 40% of revenue in five years and engineering, procurement and construction business making up 20%.

A key part of that is meeting the standards of the markets it is trying to enter, something DHHI chief engineer Zou Sheng said the company was getting better at.

He said it had built a better understanding of Australian rules and regulations as well as equipment standards while completing the projects it had already done with Australian businesses.

“Australia has the most comprehensive and strict equipment standards in the world, emphasising safety, environmental protection and efficiency,” Zou said.

“With regard to safety, personal safety comes first and it is followed by environmental safety.

“Through years of practice DHHI has built a better understanding about the equipment standards in Australia.

“Our design philosophy has also changed.

“First of all we arrange design materials for bulk material handling machinery in descending order of importance with the most important first.”

Those categories are Australian rules and regulations, the contract of the project and technical specifications, Australian standards and criteria, and international standards and criteria.

“We perform risk assessment for the design,” Zou said.

Adhering to deadlines is also important. On August 29 DHHI held a ceremony to mark the placement of a ship unloader for Ploce Port in Croatia. The company worked through several key holidays to ensure the delivery schedule was met. It was similar story for the work it did for Roy Hill.

That ceremony was chased on the following day by a signing ceremony for a US$29 million contract under which Nippon Steel was buying some steel milling equipment from DHHI. Yes. A Japanese company buying steel making equipment from a Chinese company.

Walking through DHHI’s vast workshops and it is interesting to note that much of the engineering equipment is from Europe. 

As one potential customer put it, there was none of the arrogance that Chinese equipment was superior. It was more about what was best for the job.

Another Australian company looking to use DHHI is Magnetite Mines, a company chaired by iron ore industry veteran Gordon Toll.

Toll is working with G&S to get an idea of the types of equipment it will use for the magnetite project he wants to get off the ground in South Australia ahead of some further studies.

Part of that project involves a floating port, which is where DHHI comes in.

Toll is also considering high pressure grinding rolls and has had discussions with Metso over those and is even weighing up using a dry separation technology created by mineral processing whiz Chris Kelsey.

When Australia’s Mining Monthly spoke to Toll he was not long back from a trip to Dalian, China to discuss the floating port equipment with DHHI.

The larger option for the floating port – Magnetite Mines is considering two options – will include three ship unloaders capable of shifting 3500 tonnes per hour and a 15,000tph ship loader. That loader is on par with the one Roy Hill has.

“They were very open minded,” Toll said.

“A lot of Chinese companies have their way and that’s it. DDHI has a totally different approach.

“They want to be global.”

G&S managing director Mick Crowe said the quality of the work coming out of DHHI was as good as anything he had seen from the other major original equipment makers.

He worked with DHHI on the Roy Hill job as well, where G&S had structural, mechanical, piping and electrical instrumentation packages for the stackers and reclaimers, which came from DHHI.

Crowe said the sort of market DHHI was trying to break into in Australian mining had several competitors including ThyssenKrupp, Tenova Takraf as well as a couple of competitors in its native China.