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Cementation Canada gets gold

Cementation Canada was recently awarded three new projects in a buoyant gold market.

Crews are on site at Apollo Gold’s Black Fox Mine near Matheson, Ontario and Northgate Mineral’s Young-Davidson Mine near Matachewan, Ontario. Both projects are in North Eastern Ontario and involve First Nations Agreements. Black Fox Mine is transitioning from open pit to an underground operation and the scope of work includes underground development and raise boring. The Young-Davidson project is an engineer, procure and construct (EPC) contract to deepen an existing shaft and develop a new production shaft by raise boring.

Kitikmeot Cementation Mining & Development (KCMD) has been awarded the development program at Newmont’s Hope Bay Project in Nunavut, north of the Arctic Circle. KCMD is a joint venture between Cementation Canada and Inuit partner, Kitikmeot Corporation of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

RUC Cementation goes global

By extending its focus to markets further afield, RUC Cementation has recently been able to secure a number of large international contracts, including:

  • Construction of three raise bored shafts of six metres in diameter and 550 metre depth over three years at Freeport Indonesia on Papua Island
  • Raise drilling of two shafts to a depth of 1 300 metres at Ivanhoe Mines copper gold project in Mongolia in what is considered to be the finest copper and gold ore body in the world
  • A sub-contract with Gammon Construction for shaft sinking works for a new sewerage system in Hong Kong
Sewerage works in Hong Kong

Working at extreme depth

South Deep
Murray & Roberts Cementation site
establishment at South Deep Mine

Murray & Roberts Cementation will apply its experience in mine development to deepen an existing shaft at the Gold Fields South Deep mine near Carltonville on the West Rand to 3 000 metres. The shaft is being extended to match the man and materials shaft adjacent to it, which is currently the deepest rock hoisting shaft in the world.

This is the latest in a portfolio of projects Murray & Roberts Cementation is completing for the mine which includes the new mine development below 95 level. It will be undertaken in a challenging environment of extreme depth and will require a methodology that allows safe access below an existing shaft.


Murray & Roberts wins IAS Award

Murray & Roberts won the Investment Analysts’ Society (IAS) award for the best presentation to the Society in 2009/2010 for companies with market capitalisation between R5 billion and R20 billion.

The IAS is a liaison body for the investment analyst profession. The Society currently has 2 000 members, including investment banks and houses, fund managers, brokers, insurance companies and pension funds.

Each year, the IAS promotes a prestigious awards ceremony in recognition of the skills of those listed companies that win awards for “Best Communicating and Reporting”.

Concrete Technology

Murray & Roberts has established a Concrete Centre of Excellence to raise the level of construction technology in the Group and introduce new technology to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The centre is based at the Elandsfontein head office of Murray & Roberts Construction and it serves a number of group operations that work with concrete. It is managed by Cyril Attwell, a research scientist and expert in concrete technology who joined the Group when he was employed to provide advice on the optimal use of concrete for the Gautrain project.

In the six months between January (when it was established) and June this year, the centre has achieved significant bottom-line savings for group operations by modifying concrete technology across a broad spectrum and reducing costs. These savings are reflected in increased margins on existing projects, enhanced competitiveness in tender negotiations (where savings of between 10% and 25% are being achieved on concrete costs) and theoretical savings gained by using alternative concrete mixes.

Group operations that are benefiting from the work of the centre include Hall Longmore, Rocla and the Cementation Group. The Concrete Centre of Excellence plans to extend its work to other group operations in future to generate even higher levels of efficiency and cost saving.

Iconic Middle East projects near completion

Sheik Zayed University
Sheik Zayed University

Murray & Roberts Middle East is making good progress on a range of projects in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

The R2,5 billion Paris Sorbonne University for Mubadala in Abu Dhabi is nearing early completion ahead of the contract program and within budget. The R6 billion Sheik Zayed University for Mubadala is also progressing well and has a target completion date of July 2011. Construction of the complicated space-age roof is underway, and the structure is taking shape.

Work on the new St Regis hotel, resort, and conference centre on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi is proceeding well and the Al Habtoor-Murray & Roberts joint venture continues to focus on its commitment to safety and the highest quality of construction expected by its client, the Tourism Development and Investment Company. The project is scheduled for completion in 2011.

In Bahrain, the Arcapita Bank headquarters building and mosque is almost ready for occupation. The building has a prominent position in Bahrain Business Bay.

A platform to demonstrate design capability

Construction of the two chimney structures for the Medupi power station is well underway. The R1 billion contract, in which Concor is participating as a joint venture partner, was awarded in April 2009 and involves the design and construction of two chimney structures and the construction of three coal silos and six fly-ash silos.

Design is not often included in a construction contract and this element of the project will allow the joint venture to demonstrate its civil engineering capabilities in the design and construction of these specialised structures.

The project is progressing slightly ahead of schedule as the joint venture partners demonstrate their world class expertise in chimney sliding. The sliding of the outer casing of the first chimney windshield was completed in mid-May. It took six weeks, working continuously 24 hours a day and seven days a week, to slide the first chimney. The foundation for the second chimney is ready and the sliding of its windshield is due before the end of the year.

Medupi's first chimney
Medupi’s first chimney

The Medupi chimneys will be 220 metres high with three steel flues per chimney. This is different from the conventional Eskom chimneys of the past which had brick flues. Installation of the nine metre diameter steel flues will comprise the next stage of the project. From an environmental perspective, the two chimneys are flue gas desulpherisation (FGD)-ready.

Construction of the coal and fly-ash silos has commenced and the first fly-ash silo was slid in July.


Bramhoek and Bedford dams

The contract to construct the Bramhoek and Bedford dams for the Ingula pumped storage scheme was awarded to the Bramhoek Dams Joint Venture, of which Concor Roads & Earthworks is the lead contractor.

The Ingula pumped storage scheme consists of an upper dam, Bedford, and a lower dam, Bramhoek. Both will have an approximate water capacity of 22 million cubic metres. The dams are 4,6 kilometres apart and are connected by underground waterways through an underground powerhouse which will house four 333MW pump turbines.

The contractors moved onto site in April 2008 and the scheduled completion date for Bramhoek Dam is October 2010 with its impoundment in August 2010. Bedford Dam is scheduled for completion early in 2011.

The site of the pumped storage scheme spans the Little Drakensberg, straddling the provincial boundary of the Free State near Harrismith and KwaZulu Natal, near Ladysmith.

Bramhoek dam

Concor Mining extracts bulk coal sample for Sasol’s Mafutha project

Concor Mining secured the contract for the excavation of the bulk coal sample for the Sasol project, and coaling of this bulk sample was completed in the first quarter of 2010. The project is situated at Steenbokpan, near Lephalale in Limpopo Province, and site establishment took place in July 2009.

Sasol requires the bulk coal sample for large scale gasification trials in one of Sasol Synfuels’ gasifiers in Secunda as part of its pre-feasibility study into the establishment of a potential coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant in the Lephalale area.

The contract entails the removal of top soil, then overburden to a depth of 34 metres and the extraction of a selected coal sample to a depth of 91 metres.

The project is particularly complicated as the mining area has been kept to a minimum and the coal has to be selectively drilled and blasted, and then mined.

Excavation of the coal bulk sample

Concor building wins SAPOA 2010 award

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation’s new office and conference centre development in Tshwane, of which Concor Building was the main contractor, won the prestigious South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) 2010 awards in the best development and best overall property development categories.

The R1,2 billion building structure embodies a functional and efficient use of space for staff and the public which is further enhanced by high standards of green design principles.

Accommodating some 2 500 employees with 1 500 parking bays, the 138 570 cubic metre building includes a state of the art conference facility designed to house the African Union and South African Development Community (SADC) conferences.


Front façade of the building

Precision and safety

Medupi Heavy Lift

A major lift of 1 160 tons undertaken in July 2010 to erect the roof of the first Medupi boiler used a method called strand jacking to ensure the highest levels of precision and safety. The process involved the lifting of a heavy steel grid that will house the boiler onto a 104 metre high steel frame.

Strand jacking is a construction process in which large construction elements such as concrete slabs and steelwork are lifted into position with computer-controlled hydraulic jacks. Because the multiple jacks can be moved in unison and with great precision, heavy structures can be assembled at ground level and then lifted into position rather than being built at higher levels. This allows for increased safety and it reduces costs.

The Medupi heavy lift was successfully completed with support from Swiss subcontractor, Hebetec Engineering Limited, and Murray & Roberts company, Freyssinet. The transfer of valuable skills during the process will ensure that Murray & Roberts is able to complete the process for the other Medupi boilers.

Ngqura harbour container terminal phase II

ContainerConcor continues its involvement in the construction of South Africa’s newest deep water harbour. The Hochtief-Concor Joint Venture is currently constructing the Phase II expansion of the Ngqura Harbour Container Terminal.

The Ngqura Container Terminal, which opened in 2009, is attracting increasing volumes of container traffic, and requires expansion of the quay from two berths to three.

On completion of the quay wall, the dry excavation, in which it is built, was flooded allowing the sea to engulf the seaward face of the wall.

Construction of the container terminal is on schedule for handover in February 2011.