With the economy of Mozambique ready for a robust recovery, specialist geotechnical contractor Esorfranki Geotechnical is positioned to strengthen its already well-established market in that country.
Esorfranki Geotechnical was most recently involved in work relating to the infrastructure for the Moatize coalfields development for a major multinational metals and mining company.
The company was also involved in a project which entailed the piled foundations for the rails and the 800-m-long coal stacker at the load-out facility in Beira for the same company.
This contract was extended to include the marine works and ship-loading-structure foundations as part of the upgrading of the Port of Beira Quay 8.
“Having established a presence in Beira, we are now looking at other opportunities in and around this city,” says Esorfranki Geotechnical MD Roy McLintock.
“We have worked in Mozambique for 15 years and our projects in several parts of the country have afforded us a good understanding of the local culture, business environ- ment and ground conditions, as well as the country’s customs and logistical processes. “This work has also enabled our Mozam- bique-based team to establish a compre-hensive geotechnical database that, coupled with in-house design capabilities, enables us to provide competitive design solutions.
“Esorfranki Geotechnical’s future opportunities will centre around the Moatize coal project, port upgrades related to the export of coal and other resources, electrification, and general infrastructure upgrades,” notes McLintock.
First Mozambique Project
The company’s first project in Mozambique, while still known as Franki Africa, was at the Mozal aluminium smelter, which is a joint venture between diversified miner BHP Billiton (41%), global integrated business enterprise Mitsubishi Corporation (25%), the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (24%) and the Mozambique government (4%).
The company was commissioned to conduct initial site investigations for the smelter, which is situated 20 km west of the capital of Maputo, in late 1997 and early 1998. When tenders for the foundation piling were invited, Franki Africa was awarded a contract for Phase 1 of the project. This was successfully completed two months ahead of schedule in March 1999 after installing more than 10 000 on-site Frankipiles.
Franki Africa then secured Phase 2 of the project, which entailed the installation of more than 8 000 Frankipiles and 200 large-diameter auger piles supporting the silo structures.
At the project’s peak, the company had 518 crew on site. This contract was also completed ahead of schedule.
“Although the country was going through an economic downturn at the time of our involvement in the Mozal project, we became aware that Mozambique was ripe with opportunity,” says McLintock.
“We took a strategic decision, based on the anticipated positive impact of the Mozal pro- ject, to establish a registered company there in July 1998 and populated it with a pilot team tasked with identifying business opportunities. “These were skilled people with access to a full range of equipment to undertake any kind of local geotechnical work.”
McLintock adds that its predictions proved accurate and its workload steadily increased.
A focus beyond Maputo resulted in a contract to install Frankipiles at a silo complex for a Tanzania-based client for whom the company had done similar work in Dar es Salaam.
“We also secured foundations for various bridges in the rural areas. Another notable contract was the provision of general geotechnical work at JSE-listed agriculture and property group Tongaat Huletts’ Xinavane sugar mill, where we installed various pile types in both brownfield and greenfield areas of the mill,” adds McLintock.
Further, Esorfranki Geotechnical also installed piling and lateral support for four foreign embassies and numerous buildings and marine structures in Maputo.