Cape Lambert

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Cape Lambert
Western Australia
Cape Lambert is located in Western Australia
Cape Lambert
Cape Lambert
Coordinates 20°35′34″S 117°10′50″E / 20.59278°S 117.18056°E / -20.59278; 117.18056Coordinates: 20°35′34″S 117°10′50″E / 20.59278°S 117.18056°E / -20.59278; 117.18056
Established 1880s
Postcode(s) 6720
Location 38 km (24 mi) from Karratha
LGA(s) City of Karratha
State electorate(s) North West
Federal Division(s) Durack
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
31.9 °C
89 °F
20.1 °C
68 °F
295.0 mm
11.6 in

Cape Lambert is a port facility operated by Rio Tinto Iron Ore in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is located 40 kilometres north of Karratha.[1]

See Port Walcott for the associated iron ore loading port.


Cape Lambert is one of the sea ports for exporting iron ore from Rio Tinto's mining operations in the Pilbara. (The other port is Dampier.) Ore is carried to the two ports on the Hamersley & Robe River railway.[1]

Cape Lambert is East of Karratha (59 km), West of Point Samson (11 km) and Port Hedland (220 km) and due North of Wickham (10 km), Roebourne (22 km) and Millstream National Park (108 km).

Point Samson Beach[edit]

Linking the facility at Cape Lambert with the small holiday town of Point Samson is a long white Beach. The perfect white beach stretches for over 1 km and is the perfect vantage point to observe queues of iron ore bulk tankers waiting to dock at the port, turtles nesting or whales migrating just off the Cape. Sunsets at the beach can be dramatically red.

Boat Beach[edit]

Boat Beach which is a very popular local swimming and fishing spot situated immediately West of the Port rail and processing facilities, but easiest accessed off Walcott Drive not far from the town of Wickham. Boat Beach offers swimming and fishing and a boat-launching ramp. It is home to the old Port Walcott Yacht Club.

Cape Lambert Port[edit]

Iron ore mines in the Pilbara region.

The port at Cape Lambert was opened in 1972 and is operated by Pilbara Iron on behalf of Rio Tinto.[1] Employees at the Cape Lambert facilities live in the nearby town of Wickham[1] or a temporary construction camp between the Port and the Point Samson Road.

The port has an annual capacity to handle 80 million tonnes of iron ore. In comparison, the port of Dampier can handle 140 million tonnes annually. The former is approximately 40% of Rio Tinto's annual iron ore production from the Pilbara, as of 2009.[2] Individual ships at the port take between 24 and 36 hours to load. The wharf at Cape Lambert is 3 kilometres long, 30 metres high and one of the highest, longest and deepest wharves in Australia.[1]

Rio Tinto expanded the port from a capacity of 55 million tonnes annually to 80 million tonnes at a cost of A$952 million.[3][4] The port is scheduled to undergo a further expansion to be completed by 2012. The new expansion is scheduled to cost A$276 million.[5] The expansion is part of a plan to raise Rio Tinto's annual production from the Pilbara from 220 to 330 million tonnes annually by 2016. To achieve this, the Cape Lambert port capacity will be expanded to handle an additional 100 million tonnes annually.[6]

The wharf at Cape Lambert stretches for 2.7 km, built to a minimum of 17.87metres above the water. It is the tallest in Australia. The wharf holds or shares every Australian bulk handling records.

Expansion Projects[edit]

In 2010 Rio Tinto announced $US200 million (A$226.4 million) in funding to begin expanding its Cape Lambert port facilities as part of a wider expansion of its Pilbara iron ore operations. The port expansion will support increasing the export capacity of Rio's Pilbara operations to 330 million tonnes a year by 2016.

Rio also proposed an additional 1.8 km, four-berth jetty and wharf at Cape Lambert to increase its current annual capacity of 80 million tonnes by a further 100 million tonnes. The expansion will be staged, rising to 225 million tonnes a year by the first quarter of 2011, 230 million tonnes by the second quarter of 2012, and 280 million tonnes by 2014.[7]

Expansion Management[edit]

Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), has been appointed as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management contractor for the expansion of Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert port facility, including the delivery of a new greenfields iron ore port facility, Cape Lambert Port B, located alongside the existing Cape Lambert port.[8]

New Jetty & Wharf[edit]

John Holland Group, a whole subsidiary of Leighton Holdings Ltd, was awarded the $276 million deal for construction of the new 920 metre long Jetty and 420m long two-berth Ship-loading Wharf, and related works.[9] Offshore piling started in Mid-2011.

New Tug Harbour[edit]

Abigroup, in joint venture with indigenous contractor Geraldton Line Haul (GLH), has been awarded a $65 million contract by Rio Tinto for works at Cape Lambert.

The contract involves earthworks for the wharf abutment and tug harbour and the partial removal of the existing tug harbour breakwater.The construction of the wharf abutment and breakwater involved clearing, grubbing, topsoil stripping and surface soil stripping; excavate and remove existing materials extension of existing road crossing over the power station cooling water outlet. The construction of the tug boat harbour extension included the removal, temporary storage and reuse of tug boat harbour armour rock and core material and loading, hauling and placing the core material and rock armour.

Quarry Operation[edit]

The Abigroup contract included quarry work involving the pioneering of the upper levels of the quarry by drill and blast and recovery of material for use in a crushing and screening operation. Operating quarry benches and daily drill and blast activities have been established to produce raw feed material and armour and the blasted material is sorted, loaded and hauled to either stockpiles or the crushing and screening operation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ports Rio Tinto Iron Ore website, accessed: 8 November 2010
  2. ^ Preparing for the future Rio Tinto presentation, published: 23 March 2010, accessed: 7 November 2010
  3. ^ Western Australian Mineral and Petroleum Statistic Digest 2009 Department of Mines and Petroleum website, accessed: 8 November 2010
  4. ^ Rio Tinto resumes work at Cape Lambert The Age, published: 16 September 2008, accessed: 8 November 2010
  5. ^ John Holland lands Cape Lambert port expansion for Rio The Herald Sun, published: 3 September 2010, accessed: 8 November 2010
  6. ^ Rio announces $226m expansion at Cape Lambert The West Australian, published: 14 July 2010, accessed: 8 November 2010
  7. ^ Rio announces $226m expansion at Cape Lambert The West Australian, published 14 July 2010, accessed: 20 July 2010
  8. ^ SKM News Archive, published 2011
  9. ^ John Holland wins Cape Lambert Contract Herald Sun, published: 13 September 2010, accessed: 14 September 2010

External links[edit]