NCIG CET3 Project – A geotechnical perspective

Brett Hawkins, Charles CH Chua and Jianxin Niu


This paper presents an overview of the complex geotechnical challenges faced during the design development of the Coal Export Terminal 3 (CET3) on Kooragang Island, NSW. The project encompasses the construction of coal export facilities which includes a new approximately 4.3 km railway loop leading to a coal unloading station before reaching a coal stockyard and wharf facilities of 30 Mtpa capacity. The works also include dredging in the southern arm of the Hunter River. The site is generally underlain by soft compressible alluvial soil strata of variable thickness.

A summary of geotechnical investigations completed during the design development including test pits, boreholes, cone penetration tests and vibrocores is presented. A trial embankment was constructed to test the performance of the ground versus predicted movements and details of its construction and preliminary results are summarised. Geotechnical instrumentation was implemented to complement and monitor the construction activities. The paper also presents an overview of the geotechnical design philosophy addressing issues associated with railway embankment stability, ground improvement for the railway loop and stockyard areas.