Liberty Industrial was engaged by Viva energy to demolish a bitumen plant in Port Hedland, Western Australia. The facility consisted of a 14m tall bitumen tank and associated administration buildings, tanks and pipelines. Two major challenges were overcome by Liberty Industrial during the project. These challenges were disposing of bitumen and working around Aboriginal heritage areas.
The bitumen was in highly viscous, tar-like liquid state. Due to liquid state of the bitumen, no landfill site would accept the waste. Also, the high viscosity and the adhesive nature of the bitumen made it difficult handle. Firstly an opening was cut in the side of the bitumen tank so that the excavator could reach in and dig out the bitumen using a bucket attachment. The bitumen was then placed into lined skip bins. To prevent the bitumen from sticking to the bucket, various solvents were sprayed onto the buckets before making contact with the bitumen. This ensured that the bitumen smoothly slid out of the excavator bucket into the skip bins.
The bins of bitumen were then transported off-site for treatment and disposal.
Another key challenge of the project was that one of the diesel pipelines traversed through a Aboriginal Heritage area. There were many rock carvings within the area and a significant rock carving was positioned directly underneath a pipeline. Due to the significance of the heritage values, Liberty devised methods that did not impact the area. Firstly, the Liberty team attended a cultural awareness session run by a local Aboriginal Elder, helping the team to understand the significance of the site. Liberty then engaged the traditional owners of the site and a heritage specialist from Pilbara Port Authority to oversee the work. Liberty did not use any heavy machinery into the area. Instead, Liberty used a franna crane to secure the pipes. The pipes were then manually oxy-cut and lifted out with the franna crane. Machinery only moved around site under the supervision of the traditional owners. Additionally Liberty placed rubber matting over the rock carving that was positioned directly underneath the pipeline. This ensured that in the unlikely event that the pipe was to drop down, the rock carving would still be protected. After the successful completion of the scope of works, the traditional owners expressed their satisfaction at how Liberty conducted work around the site.