Cementation Skanska’s achievement in transforming itself from a Yorkshire based company servicing the UK coal mining industry into a world leader in underground engineering and construction was recognised when it was presented the “Grant of Appointment” Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the International Trade category.
At its Doncaster head office, senior management saw the Lord Lieutenant for South Yorkshire, the Earl of Scarbrough, bestow the honour, followed by the presentation of a commemorative artifact and plaques to representatives of the company’s operations in the UK, South Africa and Canada. It is the second time Cementation Skanska has received the Queen’s Award, the first being in 1970, where it won the award for innovation.
The company, founded in 1919, received the UK’s highest recognition for continuous achievement in international trade after a major change of strategy ten years ago. With the UK mining market declining, Cementation Skanska decided its future lay in international mining, a move that saw it go from earning over 90 per cent of its revenue in the UK to today generating 87 per cent of total earnings overseas.
Through technical know-how and innovation, the company has grown to establish market-leading positions in the UK, South Africa and Canada. Overall, it has projects in 14 countries with a total workforce of 8,000 people.
Stewart Keeble, managing director, said, “Receiving the Queen’s Award is a proud moment for all of our staff around the world who have shaped this company into the success it is today.
“Our strategy of focusing growth on key overseas markets and clients has shown major rewards and I am looking forward to seeing the company achieve even greater success in the future.“
The business has developed significantly this year. It acquired Aurora, one of Canada’s premier mining contractors, to become a leader in its market in that country.
The company also announced an intention to increase the stake in its South African business, Cementation Mining Skanska, to 79 per cent, underlining a core strategy of having strong local business units in the main countries in which it operates.
Its projects often set new records. For example, it is setting a world record of 3,000 metres for the deepest main shaft to be sunk in a single lift from sub-vertical surface at South Deep in South Africa. It is also sinking a 1,906 metre access shaft at Kidd Mine in Canada to create North America’s deepest operating mine at 3,220 metres below ground.
Cementation Skanska has become the first UK contractor to return to Iran, creating the country’s first modern mechanised mine at Tabas. It has also acquired exclusive rights to use an American developed technology called 3dT, which generates 3D images of underground features. This sophisticated technology, which has successfully mapped the interior of Silibury Hill in Wiltshire, literally enables the company to see through the ground and is a major tool in the detection of unforeseen obstacles and hazards that may hinder underground construction projects.
In central London, Cementation Skanska is preparing to launch two large tunnel boring machines later this summer for its project to construct twin tunnels each 7.5 kms long connecting the future Stratford International Station to St Pancras for the final section of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. It is the longest section of tunnels for the route and is being constructed in joint venture with Nishimatsu Construction of Japan.