Cementation Skanska, the Skanska group’s underground engineering and construction organisation, has been given a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category - the UK’s highest recognition for continuous achievement in international trade.
For this Doncaster based company, it is the second time it has achieved such acclaim The company gained its first Queen’s Award in 1970, for devising chemical grouting processes for sinking mine shafts through weak, water-bearing strata.
Its latest award, presented to managing director Stewart Keeble at a ceremony in London today (Monday, April 22,), recognises the company’s achievement in transforming itself from a small UK company serving the UK coal mining industry to a world leader in all aspects of underground engineering and construction. Currently working in 14 countries, from the Arctic Circle to Australia, it employs some 8,000 people world-wide and operates as a division of Skanska UK, one of the UK’s foremost construction businesses.
Founded in 1919, Cementation Skanska relied on the UK coal mining market for 99% of its earnings. The downturn in the domestic market through the nineties spurred Cementation Skanska to look overseas.
Today’s award citation states: “Through excellent marketing initiatives and sheer technical know-how, it has now been transformed into one of the largest contractors in its field, operating worldwide with overseas activities generating 87 per cent of total earnings.”
Receiving the award, Stewart Keeble said: “This honour is shared by all of Cementation Skanska’s workforce worldwide, who in five years have boosted international earnings as a proportion of gross turnover by more than sevenfold, from less than 12 per cent in 1995. Today’s award is a wonderful acknowledgement of all the hard work and energy, combined with support from our customers, that has gone into building Cementation Skanska into the organisation it is today.”
As well as running rapidly growing businesses based in Canada and Australia, Cementation Skanska is the market leader in its field in the UK and in South Africa, where it is a major production contractor, currently mining over 300,000 tonnes of platinum bearing ore per month.
Among major international projects, Cementation Skanska is the first UK contractor to return to Iran, creating the country’s first modern mechanised mine at Tabas. In South Africa it has set a world record of 3,000 metres for the deepest main shaft to be sunk in a single lift from the surface, while in Northern Ontario, it is sinking another of the world’s deepest shafts for a copper zinc mine.
Back in the UK, Cementation Skanska has set a new record working on the Channel Tunnel rail link in Central London, where it is sinking two ventilation shafts – one of which at 47 metres is the deepest diaphragm wall box in the UK.