Skip Navigation LinksTanker Jetty at Alumina Plant, Aughinish Island - 1978

Skip to Details
Tanker Jetty


Alumina Contractors Ltd., an international consortium led by a Canadian company, Alcan, moved to develop a new alumina plant at Aughinish Island in 1978. The new development required a deep-water marine terminal on the island to import raw materials and export alumina. Collen joined forces with Christiani & Nielsen, a UK subsidiary of a Danish civil engineering company, to undertake the project. The Irish company provided several key management staff, while their Anglo-Danish counterparts supplied the project manager, technical staff and almost all of the necessary plant.

The first requirement at Aughinish was to establish the foundations for the new jetty; vertical tubular steel piles of two metres in diameter were driven into the river bed to support the jetty head. Christiani & Nielsen provided the necessary plant to undertake such a large-scale job. The jetty head itself was formed of a pre-cast concrete deck, which was 285 metres long and about 40 metres wide. In effect a pre-cast concrete factory was created on the site, an area of particular expertise for Collen, whose engineers had worked with pre-cast concrete since the 1940s.

While the partners collaborated effectively in meeting the technical challenges at Aughinish, they could not escape pervasive industrial relations conflict on the site. Alumina Contractors became embroiled in a series of disputes over pay rates with workers employed by its sub-contractors, which significantly delayed the completion of the project. A major dispute closed the entire island site for almost two months in 1980 and for a time appeared to threaten the viability of the project itself. Aughinish in due course became a byword for severe industrial relations strife. Despite the significant delay imposed by successive industrial disputes, the Christiani & Nielsen-Collen partnership itself worked well and the new marine terminal became operational in 1982.

Key Facts / Information:

Client Alumina Contractors ltd.
Location Aughinish Island
Date  1978