BESIX Watpac to Complete the AU$135M Expansion of Sun Metals Corporation’s Zinc Refinery in Townsville

BESIX Watpac is nearing completion on the AU$135M expansion of Sun Metals Corporation’s zinc refinery just south of Townsville.

The complex industrial project is a very large steel structure, fully encased in concrete. BESIX Watpac’s Northern Area Manager, Wade Cummins, said:

“This really shows what we can do in the industrial sector. We can basically build anything if we can build this building. It’s not like a high rise building where you set up a jump form and build up to level after level. This is all detailed construction and is an extremely technical build. It also shows we deliver on time and manage the coordination with the specialist fit-out contractors very effectively.”

A particular feature of the build has been a traveling form, or travelator, to expedite the completion of the heavy concrete roof structure. Wade said:

“If we didn’t have the traveling form, we would have needed to ‘birdcage’ entire site with scaffolding which would have added about six months to the program.”

The Townsville project has achieved a great result on local procurement with 81% of subcontractors sourced from North Queensland. While there was no contractual obligation for Indigenous employment, it continues to be a priority for BESIX Watpac, achieving 12.3%.

The project is an example of the new BESIX Watpac at work with some expertise brought in from the parent company to share technical skills. Site manager Mihail Stanescu has worked for BESIX in the Middle East for 12 years and is really enjoying the local lifestyle. Mihail said:

“Life in Townsville is amazing.”

The project is providing valuable career experience for Site Engineer Katie Garay who never imagined she would end up in the role. She said:

“I didn’t even know site engineer was a thing,”

Qualified in construction project management, Katie is one of two women on the project and playing a very important role in what she describes as practical problem-solving. Katie said:

“There’s a lot of integration required for the Sun Metals equipment so we have to install all the embedded items such as hold-down bolts and cast plates and make sure they’re in the right position for the equipment. It’s a really interesting job and a great team and you learn something new every day.”

Source: BESIX Watpac'
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