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Top award for Chatham’s project

Kim Stewart Oct 10
Top award for Chatham’s project
The restored Ohinemama Quarry on the Chatham Islands - “you wouldn’t even know we’d been there”.

Isolation and extreme weather were two challenging factors that MIMICO Environmental and Community Awards gold winner, Southern Screenworks, had to overcome when it constructed, operated and decommissioned the Ohinemama quarry which helped build a new $52 million Waitangi wharf on the Chatham Islands.

Brett Swain, who owns the Canterbury based company with Alan King, says that organisation and ensuring the right staff were posted to the job were key aspects of the successful project which was delivered by the Memorial Park Alliance who are HEB, Downer, Tonkin & Taylor, Aecom, NZTA and the DIA.

Southern Screenworks had already been working for Downer on a maintenance contract and so already had a certain amount of equipment on the island.

More gear had to be shipped to the island and because Chatham Islands Shipping could only carry certain weights at a time the equipment had to be organised and broken down into shippable components.

The plant included three diggers, two loaders, dump truck, drill rig, jaw screen cone, various sized grizzlies, screening buckets and attachments for diggers.

That was only the start – then the real work had to begin as a road was build into the greenfields site, which was then stripped down to rock, and bunds, silt fence, silt ponds etc built.

Brett says local iwi were involved in case artefacts or sites were uncovered during the process.

Southern Screenworks then drilled, blasted and extracted the product for the wharf project. A workshop was also established along with spare parts.

Anything required quickly had to be flown in. As there was no cell phone reception this involved driving to the nearest town to make a landline call back to the mainland office.

Not all staff were suited to working in the extreme location: “We had to make sure the right people were involved. Some loved it and some found it too isolated.

We also employed locals,” he says. Likewise maintaining good communication with the local community was another important factor in the success of the project.

“There was consultation over where the road would be put, truck movements, dust control, blast schedules etc.

“It came down to telling people what was happening and when. We had to make sure we were very clear about everything.”

More than 100,000 cubic metres of materials were extracted to build the new wharf. After the wharf was completed, the Ohinemama quarry was fully restored to farmland.

“We put a lot of effort into returning the site as we found it. Basically everything we took off we put back on and in the same order.

“We re-levelled, re-contoured and re-grassed so you wouldn’t even know we’d been there,” says Brett who credits Southern Screenworks project manager Alex Thompson as integral to the project’s success.

The wharf is an important place on the Chatham Islands as it is the only cargo-handling facility for essential supplies, including diesel for the electricity grid and fuel for the air services. It was upgraded to provide better port operations and encourage future economic growth.

“This project shows we can work well as a team – office, workshop, management and staff. The community is wrapped,” says Brett. “I’ve made friends on the Chatham Islands I’ll have for life. It’s a very special place.”

Fulton Hogan won a silver MIMICO award for growing and saving endangered indigenous plants with multiple partners when land at the Templeton Golf Course was earmarked for a new quarry.

Top award for Chatham’s project

More than 100,000 cubic metres of materials were extracted from the Ohinemama Quarry on the Chatham Islands to build the new Waitangi wharf.

 

As the golf course was a Site of Ecological Significance a mitigation package was required if the land was to become a quarry. Key indigenous and rare plants were identified and a collection and propagation programme commissioned.

Although the proposed land swap with the Templeton Golf Course is now on hold, Fulton Hogan is using the propagated plants in other quarry rehabilitation programmes and donating plants to trusts and local council projects.

Another MIMICO silver award went to Golden Bay Cement in Whangarei for 20 years of restoring, in partnership with others, Matakohe/ Limestone Island.

Golden Bay Cement’s support also enables a full-time ranger on the island, the establishment of visitor facilities, pest control on the island and also buffer areas on the mainland.

Another MIMICO silver medal winner was GBC Winstones Belmont Quarry in Lower Hutt recognised Shane Hagai, Regional Quarry Manager, for his leadership working with communities within the quarry and beyond.

Bronze medals went to GBC Winstones Flat Top quarry in North Auckland for growing and greening the work team, with the growing of vegetables and recycling; and to Fulton Hogan’s Waignaro Quarry at Ngaruawahia for maintaining environmental enhancements, community relationships and long-term commitments.

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