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IMIESA January 2018 Gabions


Gabions coexist with the landscape

Environmental engineers have a natural eye for the surrounding landscape and an expert understanding of how to use in situ materials to make seemingly simple but enduring installations. In Africa, they also provide a more affordable and labour-intensive solution. By Alastair Currie

Gabion construction is an ancient technique that has seen major advances thanks to an intensive research and development focus on the galvanised and PVC-coated mesh compositions designed for diverse applications like river erosion control, marine quay wall stabilisation, road and rail embankments, and even housing, all of which could have considered other options like concrete.

“These advances, combined with geotextile innovations, make this field one of the most fascinating civil engineering disciplines even though the applications can appear quite basic,” explains Louis Cheyne, managing director of Gabion Baskets.

While South Africa remains Gabion Baskets’ primary market, the company has always had a presence in the broader sub-Saharan region, and Cheyne says the potential here is enormous. “South Africa’s infrastructure
challenges are significant, but don’t come close to the needs within our neighbouring countries, as well as further afield on the continent,” he explains.

The company has recently secured a number of major orders going into 2018, one based in Malawi for a
road project and another in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a mining tip wall. Gabion Baskets completed the designs for both projects and will manufacture and supply the gabion baskets along with
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