In its latest foray into mining projects, consulting engineering group Jeffares & Green (J&G) was appointed by construction firm WBHO Construction as the principal designer of the 122km-long haul road to be constructed in Sierra Leone to serve the Tonkolili iron-ore mine project, currently being developed by Aim-listed African Minerals.

The planned road was initially divided into four sections, with a different contracting group responsible for the construction of each section, on a design-and-construct basis.

WBHO was successful in its bid for the final section of the road, leading up to the mine itself, and pioneering work started at the beginning of March. Since the vegetation is too dense for aerial photography to be remotely accurate in this area, the route had to be established by opening up and surveying an alignment through thick bush over rugged and rocky terrain.

The alignment for the 28km section was established in a space of four weeks, with J&G partner Duncan Murphy working on site with the WBHO team. However, a decision was taken to remove the design element from the construction contracts and to entrust the design of the entire road to one designer.

J&G has been tasked with the design of the entire road, as well as the related materials investigation, and will start this work using four design teams as soon as the survey information is received from the various contractors.