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Kusile Power Station is a 4 800MW coal-fired power plant built as a greenfield, critical energy provision project. It is located on a 5 200-hectare footprint adjacent to the existing Kendal Power Station. Its facilities include a power station precinct with power station buildings; administrative buildings (control buildings, medical and security); roads; as well as a high-voltage yard.

Kusile Civil Works Joint Venture (comprising Stefanutti Stocks Civils, as the lead contractor, WBHO, Basil Read, and Group 5) undertook civil infrastructure construction at the Kusile Power Station site in Mpumalanga for ESKOM Holdings SOC Limited between December 2008 and December 2015. Stefanutti Stocks Geotechnical undertook the piling scope for the JV.

Kusile Power Station has six units, each with the capacity to deliver 800MW of power. On completion the facility will be the world’s largest air-cooled coal fired power plant and the first South African power facility to incorporate Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) technology.

The Project Scope

The KCWJV Main Works contract encompassed the construction of the civil works for all six units, with each unit comprising:

  • Boiler House
  • Auxiliary Bay
  • Turbine Generator Hall
  • Air-Cooled Condenser
  • Supporting Infrastructure

More than 625 000m³ of concrete was placed during the project, with approximately 60% (375,000m³) of this is located underground, in the form of piling, foundations, tunnels, and water reticulation. The geotechnical scope saw the installation of 84 kilometres of piling, totalling 6,307 auger cast-in-situ piles.

Sliding formwork systems were used to construct 8.3km of the above-ground concrete structures and the project also involved numerous large single concrete pours.

Some of the project highlights include:

Boiler House and associated areas:

  • Slip-forming of six 124-metre high lift shafts;
  • Casting of six 1,300m3 mill foundations;
  • Construction of two incline coal conveyor lines consisting of ten columns each, the seven tallest of which were slip-formed, with the highest being 56-metres tall;
  • Construction of 12 large fan bases of different sizes and shapes;
  • Installation of a complex underground drainage system including pre-cast manholes that can accommodate heavy crane loads;
  • Construction of cable trenches that can accommodate heavy crane loads.

Auxiliary basement tunnel:

  • Construction of a 675-metre long, 15,5-metre wide and six-metre high basement tunnel intersecting with the cable tunnels running from the FGD plant and turbine basement.

Auxiliary Bay:

  • Sliding of six auxiliary bay lift shafts, six auxiliary bay stair lift shafts and twelve auxiliary bay shear walls.

Turbine Hall and associated areas:

  • Casting of six 2,111m3 raft foundations, each one cast-in a continuous pour;
  • Constructing six complex reinforced concrete Turbine Generator Top Tables that sit on columns;
  • Slip-forming of 120 five-metre diameter, 54-metre high Air-Cooled Condenser (ACC) columns.

Flue-Gas desulphurisation (FGD) plant:

  • Pouring of six 900mabsorber bases and six 530mabsorber pump buildings;
  • A continuous, seventy-two hour pour of the 3,636m3 dewatering building foundation, the largest single pour between Medupi and Kusile Power Stations.

Coal Stockyard light masts

  • Slip-forming of five 16-metre high light masts.

Pre-cast elements:

  • The sheer number of pre-cast elements required motivated the establishment of a pre-cast yard on site, where 5,417  pre-cast items were manufactured.


  • 1 341 528m³ excavation
  • 1 023 897m³ backfill
  • 625 474m3 concrete placed over eight years
  • 5 813 auger cast-in-situ piles
  • 72 080ton reinforcing
  • 429 190m² formwork
  • 169 slip-formed, above-ground structures: 276,994m3
  • Largest continuous pour: 3,636mover 72 uninterrupted hours
  • 5 417 pre-cast items manufactured on site


  • 2017: Fulton Award Commendation in the Infrastructure Category
  • 9-million injury-free man-hours worked in one stretch


The plant was constructed under international standards for safety, quality, and environment and the KCWJV achieved a stretch of 11.9-million lost time injury free man hours worked in one stretch.

At peak there were 4,193 employees working on site, with 29 tower cranes, nine self-erector cranes, 25 mobile cranes, seven crawler cranes, 37 spinner trucks and nine mobile concrete pumps being utilized across the construction footprint. With all this manpower and machine muscle working in proximity, a total immersion into a culture of safety and regulatory compliance was required.

Safety initiatives and campaigns included:

  • A safety reporting system comprising daily safety statistics that red-flagged potential problem areas, enabling remedial action to be taken immediately.
  • Inclusion of safety in daily toolbox talks.
  • A calendar of safety campaigns – in response to trends, to drive awareness, and/or to reward exemplary safety behaviour.
  • An awareness and understanding of the consequences of unsafe behaviour and non-compliance.
  • An incredibly successful hand awareness campaign that saw a direct reduction in hand-related injuries and incidents.
  • Eskom Cardinal rules, that may not be broken. These include:
  • open, isolate, test, earth, bond, and/or insulate before touch
  • hook up at height
  • buckle up
  • be sober
  • ensure you have a permit to work
  • no reversing without a spotter.


  • Close to 50% of labour force were local residents.
  • A training centre was established close to the Kusile site, at Wilge, and offered scaffolding, slip-forming, concreting, safety and working at heights training to local employees.


In 2013 KCWJV sponsored the construction of a new community police station to the value of R5,5-million. The beneficiary of the new Phola Police Station is the Department of Public Works. The objective of this SED investment was to assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) in its endeavours to combat crime and offer greater protection to the local communities residing in the surrounding areas. The project was overseen by Accelerated and Shared Growth for South Africa (ASGISA) manager, Mr Lesiba Tjale who liaised between the community, architects, local builders, the police personnel, the eMalahleni Local Municipality, and all project stakeholders.

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