Maccaferri’s Reinforced Soil Retaining Structure Supports Access Road in Vale Malaysian Distribution Centre

Due to the company’s expansion, the Brazilian mining giant Vale has opened an iron ore distribution centre and pellet plant in Malaysia, in the town of Lumut, Perak.

An access road was needed to transport materials between the stockyard areas. To make way for this new infrastructure it was necessary to cut into the existing slopes and a 13m-high and 360m-long reinforced wall was determined to be the best solution.

Strategically situated on the shores of Teluk Rubiah, adjacent to the coast of the Straits of Malacca, the Malaysia Distribution Centre known as Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal, is designed to handle 90Mtpa of Brazilian iron ore. It includes port facilities to load and unload ore and pellets, stockyards and a pelletizing complex.

An access road was needed to transport materials between the stockyard areas. The pellet plant is located in hilly terrain where, due to geological conditions, it was very difficult to accommodate a satisfactory road finish through the existing slopes. Therefore, a separate retaining structure on which the road would be built was determined to be the best solution.

A 13m-high and 360m-long reinforced soil structure was chosen, as it offered the most cost effective and flexible structure for these conditions.
Essar Engineering Services Division was the project designer in consultation with Maccaferri. The reinforced soil wall needed to be functional and strong enough to withstand heavy loading, as the access road is exposed to the constant pounding from haul trucks transporting the heavy iron ore loads between the facilities at the site.

The design used a combination of gabions with MacGrid® WG geogrid for reinforcement of the soil backfill to the gabion wall. The geogrid tensile strengths used were 200kN/m and 300kN/m and they were placed with a vertical spacing of 0.5m.

The gabions were delivered to the project site flat-packed and then filled with hard, durable rock fill, placed so as to minimise the voids within the basket.

The MacGrid® geogrids were sandwiched between the gabion layers and unrolled horizontally. Structural backfill was then placed and compacted onto the geogrids, reinforcing the soil and enabling it to accommodate greater loads than an unreinforced soil.

During construction, Maccaferri provided site and technical assistance to the consultant and contractor, to ensure proper installation.

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