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StormSAFE_Atlas Iron_Insitu_1
During 2014, MineARC was given the unique opportunity to work closely with Australian iron ore company Atlas Iron on a very different type of refuge chamber; MineARC’s first StormSAFE cyclone shelter.

For their operation in the Northern Pilbara region, an area prone to extreme wind conditions and tropical cyclones, Atlas recognised the advantage of providing on-site storm shelters at their largest Port Hedland facilities. The use of shelters eliminates the requirement to send staff to Perth during an extreme weather emergency, and allow them to continue production and processing as normal all the way up to a ‘blue’ alert.

Atlas commissioned MineARC to design and engineer two custom StormSAFE chambers, large enough to house 72 people safely during extreme weather, and within the Australian Building Code’s ‘Region D rating’ for tropical cyclones with wind speeds in excess of 300km/hr.

The resulting chambers were built to comply with Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS1170.2, with a Building Code of Australia Importance Level of 4. A four piece modular unit that bolts together to provide approximately 105m2 of internal space, the refuge is easily disassembled and fully portable, allowing easy relocation.

A clever, compact design, the StormSAFEs each offer bedding for up to 54 persons, ample seating, a kitchenette and dual toilet facilities.
MineARC’s dedicated engineers utilised air flow simulation software to study the effects of severe weather conditions on the structure, as shown in the table below.

StormSAFE_Front Wind Loading_Graph

[Figure 1: Front wind loading of 99m/s (350km/h) – provides MineARC engineering with pressure and suction loads on the chamber; Pressure in Green/yellow/red and Suction in shades of blue]

A full team of around 25 experienced MineARC technicians, electricians and mechanical engineers worked tirelessly to custom build and inspect the two units, successfully meeting the tight deadline requirements. “The MineARC team from initial concept discussions through to handover on site have provided a professional service,” said Trevor Beattie, Capital Works Manager at Atlas Iron. “The design of the StormSAFE product evolved during construction to meet the conflicting requirements of two separate end user locations. The StormSAFE shelter met all the Technical Criteria and the internal fit out provides total flexibility for seating arrangements within the two centre modules. A special thanks to MineARC for their determination in delivering the product to schedule and at a level that was promised at the outset.”

The StormSAFE’s unique modular design means it can be customised and adapted to meet any client specification, particularly in regards to size, occupancy and internal features. If you are interested in a storm shelter for your site, please email