660 abandoned asbestos mines to be rehabilitated in SA


Global programme and construction consultancy Turner & Townsend is providing quantity surveying expertise as part of a major programme by the South African government to close and rehabilitate some 660 abandoned asbestos mines and shafts in various regions around the country.

Asbestos mines
Asbestos mines

“So far we have worked with the SRK Consulting team on nine abandoned asbestos mine sites in the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo,” says Gordon Bulmer, senior quantity surveyor of Turner & Townsend. “With three of these now closed and completed, we are currently involved on a further six mine sites, while we are preparing tenders on another three, with possible additional projects in the pipeline.

“It is a privilege to work on projects of this nature and scale, which 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.”

“The projects vary in complexity, therefore a key requirement of being awarded the bid for the asbestos mines was our ability to provide the highest standard of quantity surveying expertise in a flexible and agile way. SRK Consulting’s confidence in our professionalism is testimony of our global reputation in this field.

“While each mine site is different, the quantity surveyor in this particular government rehabilitation programme plays a key role– both in terms of advance planning as well as control or containment of costs throughout the projects.”

The rehabilitation programme falls under the Department of Mineral Resources, which appointed Mintek – a global leader in minerals processing and metallurgical engineering products and services, to provide the professional project management.

SRK Consulting has taken the engineering design lead on these projects over the past three years, as a sub-contractor to Mintek, delivering the conceptual design, final design, quality control and project management. Chosen for its international track record and world-leading expertise, Turner & Townsend has been selected by SRK as one of the teams supporting the ongoing government programme.

“We are involved in these projects from the very outset when the engineer draws up the preliminary design, from the point of preparing the tender document and putting a price to it for budgeting purposes, and again to financially manage the project. This includes making monthly payment assessments, evaluating any changes in design or unexpected site conditions, through to final project completion,” says Bulmer.

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