Founded in 1790 and based in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, the BAUER Group has made a name for itself by being one of the go-to Groups for challenging foundation work. In fact, the name ‘Bauer’ is often linked with some of the most difficult and largest-scale foundation work in the world, attached to a range of machinery and processes fit for the demanding task. Reliable, innovative, efficient – BAUER Spezialtiefbau GmbH lives up to the high expectations the world has for a German company of this scale.
As one would expect, this successful Group has many subsidiaries around the world – 110, to be exact. One such company is BAUER Engineering Ghana Ltd. This Ghanaian branch focuses on groundworks for mining and construction projects and, in particular, on groundwater control. We spoke with Giuseppe Canducci, Managing Director at BAUER Engineering Ghana, to find out more about this arm of the Bauer Group entity.
The Bauer Group as an overall entity is a behemoth of an organisation, employing over 12,000 people worldwide and achieving a total revenue of EUR 1.7 billion. As Giuseppe told us, “We operate everywhere and in any ground conditions, from western cities to offshores operations in the sea and in the desert.” The group’s activities are divided into three main segments: construction, equipment and resources. Giuseppe broke these three categories down for us and explained what each one entails:
The construction wing focuses on foundation engineering and construction for infrastructures. In other words, Bauer designs and caries out services such as piling, sheet piles, grouting and soil improvement services. Whilst this is the construction branch’s main focus, however, it doesn’t stop there: this part of the Group is also heavily involved in the mining industry, offering customized engineering equipment and services for mine exploration through the Group’s company SCHACHTBAU NORDHAUSEN. Through this entity, Bauer works on mineshafts, new drifts, restoration and maintenance by shotcrete and anchors, customized solutions for safekeeping of abandoned areas of mines, construction of traffic routes and infrastructures.
Lastly, this section of the organisation also provides water control management services for open mining, in order to stabilize slopes, create water slopes and perform other water-managing undertakings to preserve the integrity of the open-pit mine against the elements.
As for the equipment portion of the Group, Bauer uses this to provide leading companies with machines for foundation engineering. Once again, though, Bauer doesn’t stop here, as it is continually working to develop new products. More specifically, it creates these products for the mining, deep drilling and offshore drilling sectors, such as sheet piling, core sampling, injection anchors (“Invented by Bauer in 1958”, Giuseppe was sure to tell us), cutters for continuous cut-off wall, and rigs that can be used both for piling and for blasting holes for open-cast mining.
Lastly, the resources segment focuses on environmental technology, water treatment, dewatering wells, environmental remediation, waste management and groundwater control.
Bauer Engineering Ghana combines elements of all of Bauer’s three sections of focus. Providing equipment, products and engineering services, Bauer Engineering Ghana has this section of the market covered. The company is headquartered in Accra, Ghana’s capital, from where it reaches out to not only the whole country, but the entire West African region. “In the last years we have seen a significant increase of the construction segment and infrastructures, especially on large scale project as seaports and bridges. We are confident that this upward trend will continue after the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. However, in order to maintain workflow, the company must not limit its operations in one country only.” Operating internationally comes with its added complications these days, but Bauer Engineering Ghana are willing to take on the extra effort in order to have a stronger base from which to operate. “We first reached the region as a provider of drilling solutions for civil infrastructures. Now, we seek the opportunity to consolidate our presence as a provider of integrated solutions also in the mining and water management sector.”
As well as carefully training its own staff to a high level of performance, Bauer Engineering Ghana is also able to benefit from the collective expertise of the international Group where needed: “We have specialized operators who are mobilized when necessary anywhere in the world in order to have the most skilled ones accordingly to the peculiarity of each site.” This added expertise where needed, combined with the strength of its team, allows Bauer Ghana to stay ahead of its rivals in West Africa by enabling it to offer a wide range of capabilities: “We are not just a supplier of drilling services. We manage the full sequence of the drilling: we do design, we manufacture our own equipment and we provide the site drilling. This allow us a complete control of the process. We also continuously update our methods and equipment due to site feedback in order to guarantee timing, quality, safety and performance to our clients.”
Given its global location, Bauer Engineering Ghana has enabled the Bauer Group to play an active hand in one of the region’s most profitable and interesting industries – mining. Giuseppe told us that this reach extends to both mining and exploration, as well as, of course, keeping water away from open pit mining: “We develop equipment for alternative mining methods and adapt typical foundation technology to special needs such as the use of trench cutters for digging narrow, long and deep veins in rock, as hydraulic grabs for bulk sampling of up to 3000 mm diameter and as Kelly rigs for coring 1200 mm diameter up to 360 m depth. We provide working platforms (also variable diameter ones), towers, hoist and more for shafts.
“In recent years, we developed synergies with rose boring contractors in order to provide deep shaft drilling in mines in Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso. Rose bore drilling is a rock drilling method performed from the bottom upward, with the recovery of the drilled material from the below gallery of the mine. However, the upper part of the shafts is usually excavated in loose soil and it would collapse inside the drilled hole if adequate measures are not in place.
“Therefore, Bauer provides the cut-off wall on the top of the shaft in order to block this collapse. It consists in a series of secant piles whose diameter depends on the depth required. The precision required may be elevate to reduce and avoid gaps between the piles at deep and flowing of water into the excavation.”
Water management is a key part of Bauer Engineering Ghana’s operations, keeping groundwater away from affecting open pit mines or construction works. However, this water management is not where the company’s involvement with the element stops – it also plays a key role in water treatment. This service can get lost in the list when rattling through a prolific company like Bauer’s processes, but it deserves highlighting. One doesn’t think about heavy industrial operations ever having a positive effect on pollution, but in this case, it’s true!
“In the last 25 years,” Giuseppe told us, “We have constructed, maintained and operated over 1,000 plants for treating contaminated groundwater from municipality, agricultural, mining and oil activities. These plants range from simple filter plants to complex biological diaphragm plants that are natural water treatment systems.”
In the Sultanate of Oman, Bauer Engineering Ghana has been working on the largest treatment wetland of its kind in the world. The Nimr Water Treatment Plant treats oil-contaminated wastewater and makes it clean again. This waste tends to be created during oil exploration and production, and is a huge problem when it comes to pollution, but thanks to undertakings like this plant, that negative impact on the environment can be spared. This is possibly Bauer Engineering Ghana’s most exciting area of operations, as it has such a positive green impact. Giuseppe broke down how it works:
“While utilizing the power of nature and energy from the sun, polluted water can be cleaned in a sustainable way, with minimum operation and maintenance cost and low energy footprint. Contaminants are removed via a range of natural processes mediated by complex interactions between water, plants, microorganisms, soil/gravel media and the atmosphere.” Over the years, Bauer has developed and installed hundreds of wetland applications worldwide, but the largest and most impressive is Oman’s Nimr Water Treatment Plant which treats 115,000 m3 of water from nearby oil fields per day.”
It’s shocking to think that this scale of water needing treatment exists, but given that this is the case, thank goodness that companies like Bauer Engineering Ghana are taking care of it. All in all, this Ghanaian has many impressive credentials and achievements to its name, but for us, this is one of the most exciting. Thankfully, Bauer’s reach in West Africa seems to be broad enough that it will make it through this unusual year we’ve had, and it can continue to protect industrial undertakings and clean water alike.