Visit to Hendrik Verwoerd Dam

Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Unavailable
On 23rd October, 1969, 54 members of the Institute set out at an early hour from Rand Airport in two chartered Dakota aircraft for a visit to the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam site. The weather was at the start rather unpromising but after passing Bloemfontein the overcast cleared and it turned into a glorious day for a most memorable visit. The Institute is indebted to U.C-Dumez-Borie Dams Limited, the main civil engineering contractors, and Mr J. D. McNamara their executive manager, for the very excellent arrangements made for this excursion. From the time the aircraft landed till a slightly belated departure the organisation of the extensive tours arranged for the parties was quite outstanding and a matter for congratulation to all concerned. At each of the many places visited there was a senior official to give an authoritative and comprehensive description of the work under his control. In addition the guides on the buses, loaned by the Department of Water Affairs, kept up an interesting running commentary throughout the day. A further much appreciated facet was the introduction of many of the experts on the site and a brief talk by each after an excellent lunch served at the recreation club. Each visitor also received a brochure with a progress report and a detailed site plan, with various sections highlighted in colour, and obviously prepared at the cost of much time and effort. The visit included tours of the large dolerite quarry, where some 150 000 tons of rock are removed each month, the 42 in. gyratory primary crusher, the secondary crushing and screening plant, the rod mill plant for sand production, and the automated blending and concrete batching plant. The transport of mixed concrete by 'silobuses' to the 6 cu. yd buckets of four Blondin cableways, two of which are radially movable and two with buffing towers, and the placing of the concrete in the huge blocks of the wall was watched from a vantage point. The most interesting part of the visit was without a doubt the inspection of the wall itself and the explanations of the many intricasies of its design and care in construction, covering aspects such as positioning of galleys, interlocking of blocks, reinforcement, refrigeration, actual concrete placing, subsequent grouting, etc. Other points of interest were the very complicated design of the wall itself, the river diversion plans, with three stages of coffer dams, the spillways, and the very well cut penstock tunnels.
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