Transportation Engineering, Production Development, Expert Witness

As owner of R. E. Wedding Associates Consulting Engineers, Rene Wedding, P.Eng., has plenty of experience in production facilities development, transportation engineering, bulk material handling and much more in the Vancouver area and worldwide. Read on:


Sandwell Engineering Vancouver-Rio Tinto, Brazil

  • Project development and design for a 10/20/50 Mtpa iron ore mine, including beneficiation, overland transport via rail, road and conveyor, stockyards, river port design, river and ocean barging selection, ocean port barge receiving and Panamax shipping port design and selection with transshipment of ore via Post Panamax vessels to Cape size vessels
  • Design of beneficiation plant with local engineering consultants
  • Evaluation and optimization of road vs. overland conveyor selection with conveyor specialists
  • Evaluation and optimization of ocean barge, Mississippi river barge, large river barge and tug boat selection with marine specialists
  • Selection and optimization of river and ocean port facilities including stockyard layouts, stacking and reclaim equipment, barge loader and unloaders, and ship loaders.
  • Ore drying and screening facilities
  • Development of steel mill production facilities to accommodate some of the mine output
  • CAPEX and OPEX estimates for approximately 50 options and combinations of ore transport and handling methodologies
  • NPC calculations for option evaluation and selection
  • Reports and PowerPoint presentations for client review and discussion


Sandwell Engineering LLX Brazil

Iron ore project engineer for Porto Brasil Greenfield site to construct a $2 billion port facility to handle 80 Mtpa iron ore, grain, fertilizer, and ethanol and 400 million TEU containers. The project included rail and truck receiving of bulk goods, storage and handling, development of an ocean port with a 9 km trestle, island construction for 6 Panamax and Cape ship loaders, and a container terminal. Island Port Moody and constructability selection criteria such as environmental issues, dredging and disposal, wave and siltation studies and all coastal and marine aspects of project were undertaken.


Site planning included optimization studies of overland rail (narrow and wide gauge), road infrastructure, trestle design and capacity, berth construction methodology and optimized offshore island construction methods.

Marine design included optimization of channel dredging, channel orientation, capacity, safety, tug selection and siltation issues. Local marine, environmental and coastal specialists and the University of Sao Paulo were also involved to provide peer review of all design details.


Onshore site design included optimization of iron ore stockyards and stacking and reclaiming equipment, vertical and horizontal flat storage for potash and grains, and bulk storage for ethanol.


Project management work consisted of CAPEX and OPEX budgets (+/- 15%), coordination with approximately 20 Brazilian sub-consultants, regular meetings in Rio de Janeiro with the owners, development of design basis, project procedure, cost control and scheduling for engineering budgets.


Sandwell Engineering CVRD Brazil and EBX Chile

Project management over a team of 15 people. Prepared master plan document for CVRD (Companhia Vale do Rio Doce) Tubarao, Vitoria Brazil and TPPM Sao Luis Brazil. These are world-class bulk handling facilities for iron ore, as well as soya beans, soya meal, coal, fertilizer, copper concentrate and pig iron. Containers, steel products and break bulk products are also handled.


The project included marine works for ULOC (ultra large ore carriers of 620,000 DWT), conveyors, rotary car dumpers, stackers and reclaimers for iron ore.


  • Upgrade of TPPM Port from 90 Mtpa to 240 Mtpa iron ore, including preliminary design and estimating to detailed engineering level (+35%, -25%)
  • Upgrade of Tubarao Port from 89 to 120 Mtpa iron ore short term and 260 Mtpa long term
  • Upgrade of coal receiving, storage and shipping systems were developed to double capacity
  • Upgrade of fertilizer receiving and soya handling facilities for expansion were developed
  • Simulation of upgrade alternatives using computer modelling
  • CAPEX and OPEX budget estimates
  • Written PowerPoint presentations and technical reports incorporating all estimates, design, drawings, simulations, and production and presentation of the master plan document to CVRD in Brazil in English and Portuguese
  • EBX- Strategic planning for a new coal unloading and iron ore and soya shipping facility in Chile, including preliminary design and drawings for receiving, storage, and berth facilities
  • CAPEX and OPEX budget estimates


VNN – Votorantim Novos Negócios- Salinas Port Study – Brazil

Votorantim Novos Negócios – VNN conducted a preliminary study for the development of an iron ore mining project in the city of Salinas-MG, Brazil. As part of this study, Sandwell was contracted by VNN to assess port site alternatives along the northeast coast of Brazil, where the iron ore extracted from Salinas could be shipped to international markets.


For each of the sites, VNN asked Sandwell to produce layouts and cost estimates for several options to receive up to 60 Mtpa ore via rail and slurry pipeline, and to develop port and shipping facilities for each option. We:


  • Developed Port Moody’s rail and slurry transport methodologies, storage and ocean shipping designs
  • Provided conceptual drawings and flow sheets
  • Produced CAPEX and OPEX budget estimates for 4 alternatives
  • Provided PowerPoint presentation and final report


Sandwell Engineering CSN Brazil –Proposal

The Terminal de Carvão - Tecar (Tecar Coal Terminal) located at the Itaguaí Port Itaguaí/RJ – Brazil was leased by CSN in July 1997 for 25 years, renewable for an additional 25 years. Since then, CSN has developed several upgrades to the terminal facilities.


CSN asked Sandwell to submit a proposal for the development of the basic design and tender documents for this Phase 4 expansion. In summary, the scope of work of Sandwell included the following:


  • Simulate the Phase 3 project using Sandwell’s bulk terminal model to determine the capacity and validate the concepts
  • Make recommendations to CSN as necessary to ensure the objectives of this work are realized
  • Simulate the coal and iron ore Phase 4 project to identify limitations and interferences
  • Develop the basic design for an additional capacity of 40 Mtpa shipping and 50 Mtpa receiving
  • Produce all the technical documents required for an EPC tender (specifications and drawings)


Sandwell Engineering Coppead Iron Ore Itaguai Sepetiba Bay Brazil

Porto do Itaguaí. Terminal de Uso Público

Sandwell performed a strategic level conceptual study of the proposed iron ore handling facilities at the Porto do Itaguaí. Sandwell Engineering Inc of Vancouver was supported by Sandwell Engenharia Limitada of Belo Horizonte in this study.


  • Conceptual layouts of receiving, unloading, storage and shipping operations were developed for iron ore, petroleum coke, copper, lead and zinc concentrate, sulphur, cement and coal
  • CAPEX and OPEX order of magnitude estimates were developed
  • A final report and PowerPoint presentation were issued to the client


Sandwell Engineering Usiminas Cosipa

Usiminas Cosipa –Companhia Siderúrgica Paulista- considered development at an iron ore deposit in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil and a construction of a marine terminal at the Cosipa Port Moody in Santos to ship the mine production overseas.


Usiminas retained Sandwell Engineering Inc. to prospect the potential site on the Brazilian coast in Cubatao, some 20 km from Santos, for the marine terminal Port Moody and to develop preliminary lay-outs and cost estimates for the pre-selected sites.


The following options were reviewed and considered to transport the mine production to the marine terminal: 1) MRS railroad from the mine to the marine terminal site and 2) trucks.


The existing port facilities were evaluated:


  • Additional storage at Cosipa terminal
  • Review of present dock structure and marine facilities to load Panamax vessel
  • Shiploader selection or conversion of existing unloaders to shiploaders
  • Review of channel dredging and turning basin issues at the port
  • A site visit was conducted with input from the operator at the port
  • A preliminary design


A CAPEX and OPEX estimate was produced for several alternatives and presented to Usiminas in PowerPoint and final report form


Shapiro, Hankinson and Knudsen Barristers and Solicitors


  • Served as expert witness for legal work involving material handling, dust control and various grain handling systems
  • Detailed review of various technical issues
  • Discovery proceedings
  • Problem diagnosis, evaluation, and recommendations
  • Written reports and evaluations for use by client in litigation procedures


Sandwell Engineering CVRD Brazil

As project manager over a project team of 10 people, produced Phase II master plan document for CVRD (Companhia Vale do Rio Doce) Tubarao, Vitoria, Brazil. The master plan included upgrading the port from 80 Mtpa to 1 60 Mtpa, including preliminary design and estimating to detailed engineering level (75%). The project included:


  • Marine works for ULOC (ultra-large ore carriers of 600,000 DWT), conveyors, rotary car dumpers, stackers and reclaimers for iron ore
  • Container handling facilities for up to 1 .3 million TEU and post Panamax vessels
  • Pig iron handling facilities for up to 6 million tonnes per year
  • Soya, soya meal, fertilizer, sodium sulphate and coal handling
  • Facilities handling in excess of 20 million tonnes per year
  • PowerPoint presentations to CVRD executives in Vitoria BR
  • Evaluation of port facilities included spreadsheet modeling and world-class computer modeling using Bulk Terminal Model (BTM) Java-based model


Submitted written technical reports of all simulations, and production and presentation of the master plan document to CVRD in Brazil in English and Portuguese.


Sandwell Engineering Inc.

Served as project manager over a team of 10 people for Phase II master plan document for CVRD (Companhia Vale do Rio Doce) Mine, Carajas Brazil; and TPPM Port, Sao Luis, Brazil regarding upgrade of mine and beneficiation from 75 Mtpa to 130 Mtpa, with preliminary design and estimating to feasibility level (65%). Upgraded port from 80 Mtpa to 260 Mtpa, including preliminary design and estimating to feasibility level (65%).


Project included marine works for ULOC (ultra large ore carriers of 365,000 DWT), conveyors, rotary car dumpers, stackers and reclaimers for iron ore.


  • PowerPoint presentations to CVRD executives in Sao Luis and Vitoria
  • Evaluation of port and beneficiation facilities including spreadsheet modeling and world-class computer modeling using Bulk Terminal
  • Model (BTM) Java-based model
  • Written technical reports of all simulations, and production and presentation of the master plan document to CVRD in Brazil in English and Portuguese


Vancouver Wharves LTD and Borden, Ladner Gervais LLP

  • Testing of local grain terminal air-supported conveyor fan system and associated grain terminal dust control system for evaluation of performance and deficiencies
  • Detailed testing of all main dust control fans, baghouses and equipment
  • Detailed testing of all air-supported conveyor fans
  • Problem diagnosis, evaluation and recommendations.
  • Written report for use by client in litigation procedures


Sandwell Engineering Inc.

Phase 1 of a master plan for site development and capital expenditure at Vitória, Brazil, for Companhia Vale do Rio Doce. The project involved travel to Brazil for site inspections and presentations for the upgrade of the iron ore facility from 78 million TPA to 130 million TPA. All aspects of receiving, stockpiling, reclaim and shipping were reviewed and analyzed using a spreadsheet model. Bottlenecks and capital requirements were identified.

A report and PowerPoint presentation was produced and presented to CVRD executives in Brazil.


Shapiro, Hankinson and Knutsen, BC

Expert witness for the defendant involving Industrial litigation for a large Insurer.


Labatt Breweries, New Westminster, BC


  • Pneumatic receiving system review and upgrade for increased raw materials receiving capacity from trucks and railcars ($350,000)
  • Brew house heat recovery project, including overall heat and mass balance, steam and hot water energy optimization and recovery ($400,000)
  • Air-supported conveyor review and upgrade of agri facilities at Vancouver Wharves, BCR Marine, North Vancouver BC (2002-2004)
  • Technical review of 12 conveyors, loaders, and spouting to increase productivity from 1000 to 1700 TPA
  • Review of calibration errors in bulk shipping and batch weighing scales, testing and re-certification
  • Review of dust control system for increased capacity and reduction in fugitive emissions


Upgrade of Agri Indexer and Car Door Opener at Vancouver Wharves, BCR Marine, North Vancouver, BC

  • Mechanical and hydraulic upgrading to allow increased production
  • Functional description of operation to allow revised “state” programming for more robust operation of the remote CRT- operated control system
  • Start-up and commissioning of all systems
  • Operator and maintenance training for mechanical and hydraulic systems (approx. $660,000.00 capital)


Total Quality Management Review of Agri Facilities at Vancouver Wharves, BCR Marine, North Vancouver BC

  • Technical review of agri facilities, including management and union issues review
  • Recommendations, action plans for 100+ items including shiploader upgrades, conveyor, scales and indexer upgrades
  • Design and implementation of 40 projects to improve productivity (capital cost: $600,000)
  • Shiploader rebuild, design and project management (capital cost: $600,000)
  • Operations and maintenance training for agri facility


Vancouver Wharves –BCR Marine Berth 5 Ship loader rebuild

Design, field services, project management to rebuild collapsed agri shiploader. Removal of collapsed boom, rebuild of Pebco Spout, automation and safety upgrades, recertification and load testing.


Vancouver Port Authority, (VPA) (2003-2004)

Inspection of passenger gangways at Canada Place, including mechanical screw jack rebuilds, maintenance procedures, general repair and maintenance, hydraulic upgrades, testing, commissioning and load testing.


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