Dredgers for harsh environments

Getting reliable, cost-effective equipment, training and support to Santo Antonio Civil Consortium. 

For the construction of a 3,568 MW hydroelectric power station in the Madeira River in Brazil, the Santo Antônio Civil Consortium (CSAC) needed dredging equipment with high suction capabilities and large dredging depths, that could withstand the extreme conditions.



Rio Madeira translates to River of Wood. The river is one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon. It is very wide and strong currents can be encountered, as well as different soil types and obstacles such as roots. Following bad weather, the river lives up to its name and is full of trees from the surrounding rainforest. In addition to the harsh environments, the tight schedule, the remote location of the Santo Antônio project as well as the inexperience of the local workforce, added to the challenge.

Explaining the challenge


Additional options such as spud carrier and anchor booms enable these non-self-propelled dredgers to move forward without the need for support vessels.


A powerful dredger was needed to safely dredge on a stream current with waves. Time pressure in the dredging project played an equally important role. Customized IHC Beaver® dredgers were the solution.


After a three month on-the-job operator training by Royal IHC the operators had all the knowledge they needed to operate the vessels safely and efficiently. Moreover, subjects related to dredging processes, operational and maintenance aspects were also covered to ensure maximum efficiency and uptime of the vessels.


Crews should spend their valuable time on their regular work, rather than on repairing the tools they use. Royal IHC provided durable equipment that delivers high production capacities while keeping the need for maintenance during operation low. Furthermore spare parts are quickly available when needed. 


To ensure the wellbeing of local wildlife and to comply with the terms with regards to the environmental impact, underwater sensors analyze the river’s characteristics in real-time. These figures can be compared to measurements made before construction began.


Dismountable equipment, such as a dredging wheel and exchangeable cutterheads enable IHC Beaver® dredgers to deal with different soil types and obstacles such as trees and roots.


What other than two IHC Beaver® cutter suction dredgers are better suited to help construct the dam for the power station in the Madeira River? Just like their rodent counterparts, IHC Beaver® dredgers aren’t afraid to dig their teeth into some ‘Madeira’. These standardized CSDs are reliable, fuel efficient, have low maintenance costs and are extremely productive at all dredging depths.

They are available from stock, so delivery times are short and they can easily be customized for specific conditions with add-ons such as an anchor boom, spud carrier installation and different cutterheads or dredging wheels. Moreover, they are dismountable for easy transport, also to remote locations. The Santo Antônio Civil Consortium placed an order for a Beaver® 50 and a Beaver® 6518C. The first one was shipped within eight weeks after signing the contract.



The two IHC Beaver® dredgers for CSAC worked highly efficient. They have a high output against low costs. Per month, they reached an average production of 300,000-350,000m3 dredged material, enabling the project to progress according to plan.


9.338 km
9.339 KM
To final destination
350.000 m3
350.000 M3
Material dredged
per month
25 persons
25 persons
36 Vessel
36 vessels
Of this type in operation worldwide

Products and services used

Our people on the job