The full story
A proactive Environmental Monitoring and Management Plan to reduce impacts
Vale Malaysia Minerals Sdn Bhd was involved in a massive project: developing a new USD 1.4 billion iron ore maritime terminal in Perak, Malaysia.
Located in a coastal region in Manjung district, Perak, the project included a deep water jetty and onshore stockyard. On top of receiving iron ore shipments from Brazil and exporting blended iron ore as well as pellets, the jetty will be accommodating the largest bulk carriers currently sailing the oceans, including Vale’s own 400,000 deadweight ton vessels.
However, the construction of the 1.8 km deep water jetty required comprehensive dredging works, which would produce sediment plumes that could negatively affect the environment. With complex site conditions in the area, standard dredging mitigation measures would be inadequate.
An EMMP – the need of the hour
Sediment plumes as a result of the dredging works could impact sensitive receptors at significant distances from the work site. Prior to the project implementation, potential impacts were identified and quantified through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
However, there were still uncertainties in the prediction of environmental impacts as EIAs are carried out before the start of a project, where the actual dredging works had not yet commenced. In addition, there were also further requirements from authorities.
These uncertainties and requirements – impacted by factors such as the dredging methods, schedule, sediment spill sources and metocean conditions during dredging – would affect the accuracy of predictions and the choice of mitigation measures going forward. The environmental conditions were also non-conducive for standard mitigation approaches (such as silt curtains) as initially proposed.
As such, Vale asked DHI to provide an approach that could address these challenges. After extensive analysis and considerations, the use of a proactive adaptive EMMP alongside the dredging works was proposed to minimise potential environmental impacts of the project.
We executed the EMMP in a way that significantly reduced the risks of environmental impacts.
How our solution works:
- Working-with-nature approach
By understanding the hydraulic and environmental conditions of the dredging area, we identified critical components from nature that could potentially impact the environment. This allowed us to apply a more efficient approach as compared to standard mitigation measures that would add to a cost of 50% of the project sum.
- An adaptive environmental agenda
We carried out the adaptive EMMP through an environmental agenda. This included forecasting, hindcasting and monitoring works during the execution of the programme. Continuous communication with the different stakeholders (including authorities) allowed us to decide on day-to-day activities and follow up closely on the dredging works.
A specialised team was set up to monitor and model the sediment spill from the dredging works to determine the conditions in the field and provide right directions that could minimise the impacts in the marine environment.
- Predicting and preventing potential impacts before they happen
When possible impacts are identified way beforehand, steps taken would allow the dredging to be carried out optimally to achieve environmental objectives – while maintaining the desired production rates of dredging.
Carrying out the EMMP was crucial to the completion of the project, leading to the official opening of the iron ore distribution centre in 2014.
Minimal environmental impacts
Dredging is an activity that could negatively affect the marine environmental. With careful monitoring and management while works were ongoing, potential environmental impacts were promptly avoided and reduced to a minimum.
Dredging completed on time and within budget
The client was able to carry out the dredging works optimally and maintain the desired production rates. This meant that the dredging was completed according to schedule, without incurring unnecessary costs beyond the project budget. This was achieved to a great extent by avoiding the installation of inefficient mitigation measures, the cost of which would have been approximately 50% of the project sum.
Successful launch of facility
The project was completed ahead of schedule, in a safe way, at much lower cost than calculated based on the initially specified mitigation measures and without any environmental breach. Our work contributed to the inaugurations of the USD 1.4 billion Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal.