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MV Wunma sails back into action


MMG Century’s transfer vessel the MV Wunma is back at work transporting the mine’s concentrates after returning from its month-long routine dry-dock service in Singapore last week.

The vessel, which was repainted its original blue during the service, completed its second successful journey to transport 5,000 tonne parcels of zinc concentrate to an export ship anchored in the Gulf of Carpentaria this morning.

The Aburri – the MV Wunma’s sister ship and a slightly smaller look-alike vessel – which was brought in to carry out the mine’s shipping activities during the dry-dock has since departed for its home port of Bingbong in the Northern Territory.

MMG Century’s Port Operations Manager Greg Scanlan said while the most visible difference to the MV Wunma was its change of colour, extensive work was also carried out to the vessel’s structure.

“In addition to repainting the vessel, we carried out repairs on the vessel’s structure, conveyors and gantries. Engineers also checked and refurbished all underwater marine components including the propellers, shafts, bearings and rudders.”

The MV Wunma goes into dry-dock every five years as part of its regular maintenance schedule to ensure that it always in good condition, in line with MMG Century’s safety and environmental commitments.

Mr Scanlan said that he was pleased to see the vessel back carrying out the mine’s shipping activities.

“The MV Wunma is a well-know character in the area, and it is great to see her sailing the Norman River

It takes about 18 hours for the MV Wunma, which was specially built to navigate the shallow waters of the Norman River, to load, transport and discharge parcels of mineral concentrate to awaiting export ships anchored in a designated area offshore in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

MMG Century launched the MV Wunma Safety Campaign in April to encourage visitors to Karumba to exercise a few simple safety precautions around the transfer vessel and the mine’s port facility. For safety reasons, people are asked to stay at least 50 metres from the MMG wharf and at least 25 metres from the vessel herself. Light vessels are also asked not to anchor in the Norman River “transit” channel while the MV Wunma is moving as she is unable to turn of the channel of stop to avoid collision.

MMG Century is the world’s second largest zinc mine, producing about 500,000 tonnes of zinc annually.

The mine transfers its concentrates via a 304 kilometre underground slurry pipeline to its port facility in Karumba where it is dried, stored and then transferred to export ships.