The Kusile Power Station has been under pressure to be in commercial operation by 2018 in order to start contributing much-needed power to the South African economy. However, the construction of any power station comes with environmental implications, which can only be neutralised through geosynthetics.
To this end, construction and engineering group GAST was awarded the contract to manage the geosynthetic requirements of the Kusile Power Station. The contract was awarded via WBHO, based on GAST’s incredible record of 11 500 successfully completed projects and its accreditation from the United Nations and the World Bank, both achieved through its trademark quality and performance across the board.
The Kusile Geosynthetics project, which is entering its closing stages, has been seen as one of the largest and most complex geosynthetic projects in the Southern Hemisphere due to its volumes and intricacy, providing an environmentally friendly and secure platform for Kusile Ash and Coal over 6ha of geosynthetic solutions.
A project of this size and complexity required the expertise of a company with an exceptional track record and vast experience, as explained by GAST Group CEO, Kevin Gast: “Geosynthetics has become the standard solution in relation to environmental protection over the last ten years in South Africa, taking guidance from International Standards and the hard work of organisations like the Geosynthetics Interest Group of South Africa (GIGSA). GAST, as one of a handful of entities specialising in this field, is proud to have been involved with such a significant project, assisting Eskom and various other entities in completing such a challenging project.”
Over the past four years, GAST has supplied and installed a significant amount of advanced geosynthetic solutions to help minimise the environmental impact of the power station. Geomembranes, geotextiles and various drainage layers were required to help create a barrier between the environment and Kusile’s multiple ash dumps and dirty dams.
GAST employed over 50 community members during this project and transferred much needed skills in this specialised field. As new legislation calls for geosynthetics in most environmental protection systems, the Kusile Ash Dumps have provided a much needed springboard for future job creation.
“Kusile was a complicated project not only from a technical perspective but also from a commercial perspective, we are looking forward to handing over the keys to Eskom on this R180 million project in due course” said Mr. Gast.
Thanks to the geosynthetics project and GAST, the Kusile Power Station project, which has been fraught with delays and various other problems, has experienced much-needed impetus as it moves towards operational status, and will be able to function with a minimal environmental impact.