Consulting firm Turner & Townsend has completed project work and provided quantity surveying expertise for the rehabilitation of four old asbestos mine sites, which form part of a significant programme by the South African government to close and rehabilitate about 660 abandoned asbestos mines and shafts in the country.
The consultancy is doing project work for another five asbestos mine sites and has prepared tenders for an additional three sites in the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, says Turner & Townsend senior quantity surveyor Gordon Bulmer.
The company’s involvement in these projects starts from the outset, comprising preliminary design cost estimates, tender documentation preparations, cost engineering and financial management of the projects.
“This includes making monthly payment assessments, evaluating any changes in design or unexpected site conditions and final project completion,” says Bulmer.
The rehabilitation programme falls under the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), which appointed State-owned minerals processing and metallurgical engineering products and services provider Mintek to provide the project management.
Mintek estimates that there are more than 5 700 derelict and unrehabilitated mines of all types in South Africa, with former asbestos opera- tions “among the first to be targeted for cleanup under the DMR’s programme”.
Multidisciplinary consulting engineers and scientists SRK Consulting has taken the engineering design lead on these projects over the past three years as a subcontractor to Mintek, deliver- ing the conceptual design, final design, quality control and project management.
Turner & Townsend has been selected by SRK as one of the teams supporting the ongoing government programme.
As each mine site is different, Bulmer stresses that the quantity surveyor in this particular government rehabilitation programme plays a key role in terms of advanced planning, and controlling or containing costs throughout the projects.
“ . . . projects of this nature and scale . . . will make a difference to the health and safety of communities and the environments surrounding the mines. Apart from the well-researched health issues of asbestosis, a chronic lung disease, some of the mines are located next to water courses, which pose further environmental and health risks,” says Bulmer.
Turner & Townsend natural resources global MD Mark Wainwright agrees, adding that the programme supports the upliftment of local communities and encourages employment opportunities.
The company is also involved in a fuel pipeline project, spanning across Ethiopia and Djibouti with energy infrastructure companies Black Rhino and MOGS, has secured work with diamond miner Debswana Diamond Company and is supporting a due diligence on an undisclosed acquisition in the mining industry.
Other projects include a capital estimate review, also known as an FEL3 review, for a bauxite miner in Guinea, and estimate reviews for two potash mining projects, one in the UK, and the other in Russia.