Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  14 Nov 2008

Construction: Shaft Sinkers signs multi-million rand project in India


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Shaft Sinkers’ decision to diversify into hydro-electric schemes and other major underground civil engineering projects has paid huge dividends as the South African company has been awarded its first multi-million dollar project in India.

The contract valued at $28-million (R280 million) involves sinking two surge shafts at the Teesta III hydro-electric scheme in India’s Sikkum Province.

Earlier this year Shaft Sinkers landed its first multi billion rand contract in the Russian Federation. The contract valued at $271-million (over R2-billion) is for the construction of a man and material shaft at one of the world’s biggest potash deposits at Gremyachinskoye mine at Kotel’nikovo.

The procurement and mobilisation of both South African and Indian based work force at the Teesta hydro-electric scheme has already begun and employees will arrive on site on the Tibetan-Chinese border in the Himalayas in December this year. The two surge shafts will be 5.5 metres in diameter and 740 metres in depth.

Shaft Sinkers MD, Rob Schroder said the challenges involved in this project were immense: “For one, the road is a single narrow track in the Himalayas and it will take more than 14 hours to move equipment 15 kilometres to the site and the laydown area is extremely narrow. It is similar to the conditions we worked in previously at a job in Laos. The overall benefit here is that we are not dealing with metal commodities, which have as we know been heavily affected due to the recent chaos in the worlds financial markets.”

He said the company’s strategy to move into non metal based commodity projects as well as hydro-electrics and nuclear storage was now bearing fruit: “We are now looking at other projects in India as well as other parts of Europe to keep the momentum going forward.”

Commenting on the state of the economy, Schroder said he was still upbeat and projected growth for Shaft Sinkers in the next financial cycle due to the manner in which they had planned their long-term projects and spread their risk although they would have to be adaptable in the coming months.

2008 had been a good year, Schroder says with the growth offshore and the diversification into new markets assisting in the current turmoil.

He added: “Markets have been in turmoil but I still believe every cloud has a silver lining. Things may be tough but the challenges also bring immense opportunities for us to think out of the box and tackle new markets.”

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