Multibillion-rand Russian contract for SA firm

South African mining contractor Shaft Sinkers has landed its first multibillion-rand contract in the Russian Federation, the company said on Monday.

“This contract is part of our company’s determination and strategy to secure and expand our international shaft-sinking operations while also maintaining its solid presence in South Africa,” said Shaft Sinkers managing director Rob Schroder.

The contract—valued at $271-million (more than R2-billion)—is for the construction of a man and material shaft at one of the world’s biggest potash deposits at the Gremyachinskoye mine at Kotel’nikovo, approximately 100km from the Volgagrad region in Russia.

It is believed to be one of the largest mining construction contracts entered into between a Russian and South African company.

The South African company—which has been in the shaft-sinking business for more than 47 years—will sink the shafts and sealing water by means of cementation and grouting as opposed to the more traditional Russian ground-freezing method.

Preliminary drilling for the project commenced in June last year while work on the site is due to begin in November, and completion of the shaft is scheduled for January 2012.

The workforce will comprise a key group of South African expatriates of up to 50 people, who will employ and train local workers.—Sapa

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