Chemie Tech has awarded Motheo Construction Group the civil engineering and earthworks contract for a new fuel-terminal project for Lesedi Local Municipality in Heidelberg, Mpumalanga.

Chemie Tech is the engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contractor in the oil and gas industry, for main client Vopak, a Netherlands multinational that has built many similar fuel-storage facilities in South Africa.

Junithan Moodley, operations director of Motheo Construction Group’s Civils Division, explains that it is undertaking the project in conjunction with joint venture partner M3. The 18-month contract is currently in phase one of three.

Extensive local-community involvement

“From our recent engagement with the Lesedi Black Business Forum, and directly with the local community, we are assured that there are sufficient skills in the region to take on any work that may arise from the municipality,” Moodley confirms. The current requirement is that 70% of the workforce be derived from the local community for any projects undertaken.

The seven-month project is expected to be completed by the end of June. The scope of work includes the construction of eight tank foundations, a foundation berm wall, and a 35m x 35m x 7m concrete manifold structure.

Intricate, specialised work

“The construction method of the tanks’ walls is new in a local context,” Moodley reveals. Traditionally, a concrete ring beam was built, filled in from the inside, and with a steel tank on top. “In this instance, we are using earth materials to construct a foundation for a 30-million-litre tank. This is very intricate and specialised work, consisting of layers of bitumen and HDPE interspersed with fine sand.”

While the specialised nature of the project has complicated the procurement of materials, services, and skills from the local community, Moodley highlights that the main goal is to “assist black-owned businesses wherever we can”. Additional training opportunities will also be provided once the contract has been completed, and the local workforce is demobilised.