Australia, WA
Marandoo is an open pit mine situated 45 km east of Tom Price in Western Australia operated by Rio Tinto. Lycopodium worked on the study phase of the Marandoo Project and was subsequently awarded the EPCM services contract for the process plant upgrade, EPCM services for a treatment plant to process below water table ores and all site infrastructure.

Following the successful completion of the Marandoo Mine Phase 2 Project Definitive Engineering Study (DES), Lycopodium was awarded the EPCM contract for the development of the Marandoo Mine Phase 2 for Rio Tinto Iron Ore through the Implementation Phase.

The Project was considered a success within Rio Tinto’s 333 Mtpa Expansion Program highlighted by a high quality below the water table iron ore processing plant operating above nameplate capacity and a modern accommodation village. Importantly there were no significant injuries or worse sustained during the works.

Rio Tinto’s Marandoo mine, located approximately 35 km northeast of the town of Tom Price, commenced operations in 1994. Production was 15 Mtpa with all mining of the Marra Mamba type ore taking place above the water table.

With the expected completion of the above the water table mining activity at Marandoo in 2012, the Marandoo Mine Phase 2 Project involved extending the mine pit to allow for the mining of below water table ore. This development will allow for the ongoing supply of high quality Marra Mamba ore in the Pilbara Blend product.

The Project delivered the following scope to Rio Tinto:

  • A 964 room accommodation village highlighted by ultra-modern central facilities
  • A mine dewatering system capable of extracting and dissipating 727 GL of water at 100 ML/day
  • A below water table iron ore Processing Plant with a nameplate of 16 Mtpa SOP
  • Stage 1 of a Waste Fines Storage Facility for the life of mine
  • Non process infrastructure for mining operations including a mine operations centre and heavy vehicle maintenance facility
  • A new explosive storage facility to provide increased emulsion and detonator storage and to connect permanent services
  • A new 220 / 33 kV Substation
  • Demolition of 75km 33 kV powerline from the town of Tom Price to the mine site

The Marandoo Mine Phase 2 Project was a major brownfields project and consisted of a dewatering system, new village, wet processing plant and all associated infrastructure and facilities.
The challenge to take the Marandoo Mine below the water table had many aspects ranging from the need for new mining methods to cope with soft clays in the waste that overlies the ore to the development of a robust and efficient wet processing plant to overcome the handling issues that occur when trying to process ore from below the water table in a dry plant.

Offsite infrastructure work included a 1150-man camp, 850 ha agricultural area with pipelines run and pivots (rotating sprinklers) installed to all 17 fields, the Hamersley Agricultural Project dam servicing the fields, dewatering borefield comprising 27 bores with a total capacity of 107.4 ML/day, and transfer pipeline to the dam, agricultural fields, contingency discharge and Tom Price town water supply.

Onsite infrastructure work included the reinforced earth wall at primary crushing, the waste fines storage facility, the 220kV substation and the underground services for the new plant. Also completed and handed over to Rio Operations were the mine operations centre, the warehouse, the explosives storage facility and the land farm.


The Project Contracting Plan was based on competitive tendering methods and included a combination of Sole Sourced and Umbrella Agreement aimed at securing resources and to obtain the best value for the Client. The Sole Sourced and Umbrella Agreement included:

  • Supply and installation of the fines stacker
  • Supply and installation of rail crossing control infrastructure
  • Supply and installation of 220kV substations and Village HV
  • Supply and installation of CCTV, security and fire systems.

Additionally, the Company sought to:

  • Target $110M of contracts to indigenous contractors as part of the Projects Aboriginal Engagement Program
  • Leverage off contractors and/or vendors with Framework Agreements participating in the 333 Program.

Throughout the project duration, a total of 323 contracts were awarded and administered by Lycopodium on the Company’s behalf including:

  • 41 Construction Contracts representing 60% of the final cost
  • 24 Supply and Manufacture Contracts representing 8% of the final cost
  • 98 Service Orders / Contracts representing 6% of the final cost
  • 159 Purchase Orders representing 1% of the final cost
  • 1 EPCM Contract representing 12% of the final cost


The project expended 4,787,873 hours with an AIFR of 4.4 and an LTIFR of 1.25, well below the construction industry average of 11.3 at the time. This result was achieved through sustained effort from the RTIO and EPCM Management teams and the delivery of the following:

  • Fatality Prevention Program (FPP)
  • Frontline Supervisor development training
  • Coaching and training to improve communication and interactions between EPCM personnel and Contractors. The site based program was considered a success and became a predecessor for what has now become RTIO’s iCARE program.
  • Layered Audits
  • Constant assessment, evaluation and improvement via a number of initiatives including:
    • Two Way Communication
    • Visible Felt leadership
    • Coaching and Mentoring
    • Supervisor Development

The Project sustained no serious or catastrophic environmental or heritage related incidents.

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