Subcon project manager Jack Francis with the pyramids, made in Gladstone and which will make up an artificial reef at Hervey Bay.
Subcon project manager Jack Francis with the pyramids, made in Gladstone and which will make up an artificial reef at Hervey Bay. Paul Braven

Oil and gas company helps anglers hook up

RECREATIONAL fishermen and divers will soon benefit from an artificial reef that is being built in Gladstone.

Thirty concrete reef pyramids are being poured in a MIPEC-owned yard in Alf O'Rourke Drive by West Australian company Subcon.

When originally announced at the beginning of 2014, the project was expected to cost around $1.5 million.

It will be the second such project undertaken by Subcon; the first being a reef which is now attracting shoals of fish south of Wollongong in New South Wales.

The 23-tonne pyramids will be lowered to the sea floor at the 16m mark. They have been designed to sit on the sandy sea floor and withstand 1-in-100 year storms without moving.

Subcon project manager Jack Francis said the pyramids were designed and the formwork manufactured by the company at its headquarters in Perth.

Constructed of fibreglass reinforced concrete, the first pyramid was poured into the formwork on April 11 and the last is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Mr Francis said the normal timeframe is to complete one pyramid every day.

"It takes about nine hours to build the formwork each time, the concrete cures in the form for 12 hours and it take another few hours to strip off the formwork," he said.

Once completed, the pyramids will be shipped by MIPEC barge to Hervey Bay where Subcon will place them.

Mr Francis said Subcon, a company which works normally in the oil and gas industry - especially on offshore projects, decided to take on the construction of artificial reefs as a way to diversify its operation, given that development in oil and gas has slowed in recent times.