Only a few roads (which are being constructed both within the plant and leading to the plant) still have to be finished, with the slag-handling system, as well as the matte-crushing slag silo and matte casting systems also still due for completion.
The civil and structural design work has been completed, including all the structural steelwork, the earthworks, terracing, stormwater control, the sewerage systems and all the concrete structures.
Design consultant on the civil and structural construction for the new platinum smelter, Jones & Wagener, was contracted to first conduct a budget estimate for its portion of the project, which was then approved towards the end of 2000.
Design work for the civil and structural work began in May 2001 and Jones & Wagener associate Mike Grossett says the earth was first broken in October of the same year.
"The main civil concrete contract started in earnest at the beginning of February this year," he adds.
The majority of the reinforced-concrete construction for the smelter took place earlier this year, between February and October.
The large scale of the entire smelter made constructing certain of the structures for the plant a challenge – such as the offload structures, which had to be 14 m deep and thus required a major excavation. Grossett says the buffer storage structures are also substantial, which required heavy reinforcement and special construction due to the nature of the material being stored.
The 10 000-t-capacity storage bin required around 10 000 m3 of reinforced concrete and is a structure which stands 81 m by 12 m by 27 m high.
The material being stored is moist.
The storage bin had to be lined with glass tiles inside to enhance the flow of the material, this being necessary because it is an extremely sticky material when moist but must to flow easily.
The concrete is heavily reinforced because the stresses on the structure are high.
The consultants were also responsible for the design of a potable water reservoir with a capacity of 8-million litres a 30-m-diameter suspended thickener, a 500 t coal-storage silo and two 2 000 t wet-slag silos lined with wear- resistant liners.
Size and capacity were not the only considerations when designing and building the structures for the smelter, as storage temperature of the material also had to be taken into account.
There are, for example, various hot-water wells designed to contain process water at temperatures of up to 90