Cementation USA Inc.

Digging Deep with Cutting Edge Mine Contracting and Engineering
Written by: 
Molly Shaw

Cementation USA Inc. (CUSA) isn’t an average engineering procurement constructor (EPC); the Utah-based company goes above-and –beyond to deliver in-house engineering procurement delivery (EPD). “Our focus is on full-service EPD –we want to build these things; from shafts to ramps, raised boards to specialized rehabilitation,” explains Bill Tilley, director of engineering for CUSA. With a focus on safety and a positive, united company culture, CUSA delivers mine development and production services to clients worldwide and is one of the 50 fastest growing companies in the state.

CUSA began in 1914 as the result of Albert Francois patented “Cementation Process,” which is now recognized throughout the industry as grouting. The company was formed in 1919 to introduce and apply grouting techniques within the mining field. Since its inception, CUSA has grown significantly into a multimillion dollar organization, performing highly technical, challenging projects on a global scale while remaining true to Albert’s original innovative spirit.

While the company’s U.S. headquarters are located in Salt Lake City, CUSA also resides in Canada and South America. “Our U.S. office is much larger than our location in Santiago, Chile, but we’re trying to establish a greater presence in South America” says Bill. “We have approximately 2,500 employees worldwide, with about 112 in the U.S.; that includes 23 highly skilled in-house engineers.”

When CUSA’s U.S. branch began to expand rapidly in the mid 1990s, world traveler Mike Nadon was appointed president to oversee the Salt Lake City office. “I’ve been in mine contracting all my life,” he shares. “I grew up in a small mining town and spent my summers as a young adult working in the mines in Ontario which sparked my interest early on. This career as taken me all over the world, from Indonesia to Ireland, but I really feel in love with Salt Lake City. I think it’s a great area and one of the best kept secrets in the states.”

CUSA is well-respected throughout Utah. “Two years in a row we’ve won the ‘Fast 50’ award and honored as one of the best companies to work for,” adds Mike. “Our employees and their positive attitude are well recognized by the state.”

Core Engineering & Safety Excellence

With an experienced team, CUSA is capable of performing over 95 percent of work completely in-house. CUSA believes that early on, design-build engineering is an integral part of the construction process which increases constructability, and in turn, reduces risk. When digging deep, thousands of feet below the ground in fact, a team safety effort is of the utmost importance.

Mike attributes CUSA’s ability to handle complex, intense projects to the attitude of its employees. “We work hard on our culture and we’ve adopted the PASS safety system,” he explains. “PASS is more about recognition than punishment; it identifies all of the great things the guys are doing. The crews even drive the morning meetings themselves.”

Innovative Technology at Work

CUSA is currently tackling the Resolution Project (Resolution) about an hour east of Phoenix. “We’re about 7,000-feet down,” reveals Mike. “We’ve constructed a 28-foot diameter concrete shaft that goes into rock temperatures well over 160 degrees.”

“We’ve also used thermal imaging to develop a better understanding of rock and water temperature at Resolution,” details Bill. “You can even see people; we’ve produced some pretty interesting images.” Bill adds high resolution 3D scans of the shaft bottom also helped CUSA better understand what the crews were about to get into beforehand. “We were able to see exactly what the structure looks like before the guys even enter,” he says.

At another ventilation shaft in Nevada, CUSA engineered an innovative solution to combat a continuous problem. “This shaft goes through a soft rock zone,” explains Bill. “The concrete, pipes and guides were compressed and breaking so we designed and fabricated a set of 165-foot vertical steel liner plates to protect anything else from falling into the shaft. When dealing with soft rock, movement is continuous –this solution yields and works with the movement. We finished up this project last May.”

Bill admits CUSA boasts not only design-build engineering capacity but also diversity in regards to service. “We’re not tied to any one commodity,” he says. “We don’t care what the mineral is because to us it’s all hard rock. Right now we’re mainly involved in silver, gold and copper.”

For nearly a century, CUSA has delivered some of the most technically challenging projects with a full range of mine development construction services. A solid company culture that promotes a safe, positive environment, whether it’s above ground or 7,000 feet below, is at the core of CUSA. Cementation USA Inc. continues to build complex underground infrastructure through an array of expert engineers and designers who dig deeper for 94 years of trusted solutions.

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