The safe decontamination and demolition of three redundant gold and uranium complexes has resulted in specialist Jet Demolition winning its third consecutive award at the annual World Demolition Awards 2019 at Boston in the US, this year in the Recycling and Environmental category for a mine rehabilitation project.
“The vast majority of early metallurgical plants in South Africa had integrated cyanide leaching processes, aiding in optimal precious-metal recovery and uranium processing. This resulted in large complexes producing gold, uranium, and sulphuric acid. Throughout the lifecycle of these plants, unforeseen spillages were not uncommon, resulting in highly-contaminated infrastructure that typically degraded towards the end of life-of-mine,” Jet Demolition Director Joe Brinkmann explains.
The prestigious awards are hosted by Demolition & Recycling International, published by the KHL Group, in conjunction with the European Demolition Association. The awards were accompanied by the industry-leading World Demolition Summit from 23 to 24 October.
Each project that wins a World Demolition Award is considered to be the best in its class, highlighting the entrants’ capability to carry out a world-class project with due care and consideration. “With this being our first submission in this particular category, we knew that the global competition would be fierce,” Brinkmann notes.
The shortlisted projects all illustrated technical excellence, effective planning, innovation, and determination. Jet Demolition was one of five shortlisted companies in its category this year, and was judged against well-respected industry leaders. “It is such a welcome reminder that there are premier demolition service providers across the world delivering high-quality work under the most challenging conditions,” Brinkmann adds.
The project entered by Jet Demolition involved reducing the contaminant levels to within public release limits. Essentially, it was appointed to remove all contamination, as well as redundant infrastructure, so as to render a contaminated site usable by the general public.
The extensive contamination over all areas of the three complexes, as well as the product build-up within the infrastructure, posed the greatest challenge. Considering the infrastructure was at end-of-life, the structural stability had deteriorated, and had to be demolished sensitively and safely.
The fact that the vast majority of steel was contaminated also meant that extensive radiological decontamination had to be undertaken. Working with both corroded and contaminated structures posed a major challenge. The site work was managed by Olaf Barnard and Leonard Zeelie, with the actual project management undertaken by Brinkmann and Kate Bester (NDip Civil Engineering).
This year Brinkmann was invited to deliver a presentation at the World Demolition Summit itself. Presenting a snapshot of Africa, he spoke about the challenges facing the demolition and construction industries, but also pointed out the sheer satisfaction gained from a job well done. “Africa is faced with many challenges, but Africans are tough and resilient. Nothing of value comes easily.”
In 2018, Jet Demolition won in the Industrial Demolition Category for the demolition of a coal-fired boiler and ancillary equipment at Duvha Power Station in Mpumalanga, following an over-pressurisation event that resulted in irreparable damage to the structure. In 2017, it was declared the winner for its innovative implosion of the 14-storey HG de Witt Building in the bustling Pretoria Central Business District.