Ash Resources’ quality and logistics served St Helena well

Ash Resources’ quality and logistics served St Helena well


Once thought of as fascinating, beautiful, but frustratingly remote, the island of St Helena has at last opened up to the rest of the world with the successful operation of its own airport. Lafarge South Africa’s fly ash company, Ash Resources, is proud to have been relied on to play a part in the challenging construction project.


A mere speck in the southern Atlantic Ocean, which acquired fame as the place of Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile from 1815-1821, St Helena is over 2000 km off the coast of Africa – almost halfway to South America ‒ and over 1100 km from its nearest neighbour, Ascension Island. Until the creation of the airport, goods had been transported to the island on the vessel, RMS St Helena, which took six days to travel from Cape Town.

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To promote tourism and make the island community more self-sustainable, the British Government funded the construction of an international airport. For the concrete works, the main contractor awarded Ash Resources the contract for the supply of 3500 tons of its world-renowned classified siliceous fly ash, DuraPozz®. Ash Resources had an impressive track record for servicing challenging projects and was the only supplier able to guarantee delivery of quality product that met the customer’s needs in the required time frame.


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A  special vessel delivered equipment and containers containers of Ash Resources’ fly ash.



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Key to a new future for St Helena: the island’s runway during construction.


South Africa’s leading fly ash producer, Ash Resources, has supplied its high quality fly ash to far-flung projects such as the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai and the Naga Hammadi Barrage on the River Nile in Egypt, but the tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic called for especially innovative logistical arrangements.


For St Helena, DuraPozz® contributed to designing improved workability concrete mixes that produced the dense, durable concrete required in this marine environment. It also imparted resistance to sulphate and chloride induced corrosion. Another key benefit of the use of DuraPozz® in concrete mixes is that it helps to control the heat of hydration in mass pours.


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Pouring St Helena’s runway.


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DuraPozz® contributed to designing improved workability concrete mixes.


Delivery of materials to St Helena was a challenging exercise with the bulk of the construction equipment and materials being shipped on the contractors own vessel out of Walvis Bay in Namibia, and the remainder sailing on the RMS St Helena from Cape Town. “The DuraPozz® journey began with Ash Resources’ Lethabo plant filling 1,25 ton bulk bags and loading them into standard 20 foot containers, under considerable time pressure to meet vessel stack dates,” says Andrew McKeen, Infrastructure Civil Development Manager – Lafarge South Africa.


The Ash Resources’ logistics team railed the containers to Cape Town and arranged for them to be sent either by sea or by road to Walvis Bay in Namibia. There, they were loaded on the purpose-designed contractor’s vessel, which sailed a regular 4600 km round trip from Walvis Bay to St Helena and back on a twenty-day cycle.


As pouring of the airport runway gathered momentum, which included an 8 million cubic metre fill for the end of the runway, together with construction of the terminal buildings, it was vital to have absolute reliability of material supply.


“Ash Resources was praised as an exemplary supplier, not only from a consistent high quality product perspective, but also as a supplier by the fact that they did not miss a single shipment stack date,” commented McKeen. “It was a privilege for us to be involved in such a prestigious project that is changing the future for the unique community of St Helena through being more accessible to the rest of the world.”