GESCO now mining for regional export
April 28, 2006
GESCO now mining for regional export

Regional contractors are now eyeing St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a possible land mine for raw materials.

With a boom in the regional construction sector, mainly in preparation for World Cup Cricket 2007, contractors are now looking at the river-washed volcanic sand at Rabacca as an asset in the construction industry.

At least one company, Gregori International is already making attempts to have the raw materials exported to Barbados.{{more}}

The French company, charged with responsibility for the reconstruction work at the Kensington Oval, imported some 666 tons of Rabacca sand into Barbados earlier this month.

According to Monelle Marksman, Sales Manager at the government operated General Equipment and Services Corporation (GESCO), plans are in place to source other regional markets for the material.

Marksman explained that GESCO is now seeking to expand its mining operation at sites in Diamond and its red dirt quarry at Belle Isle Hill to accommodate the burgeoning construction industry.

“We are looking to target countries where field preparations are currently being carried out for Cricket World Cup… Now that a recognized company like Gregori International has selected our material to use in Barbados and here in St. Vincent, we are hoping other companies would come on board and use our resources,” Marksman said.

The local raw material came in for high commendation by Dr Stephen Baker, Head of Soils and Sports Surface Science at the Sports Turf and Research Institute (STRI). Dr Baker made his comments while assisting with the research and selection of the material for the surfacing of Kensington Oval.

“On my visit to the GESCO quarry in St. Vincent, the sand that is being prepared is of satisfactory quality and better than any materials that we were shown from elsewhere in the West Indies. There are also deposits of a very good quality sand on the beach,” Dr Baker stated.

With this official nod, GESCO will now be aiming to increase its capacity to meet the demand for its product.

Some have expressed concern about the environmental degradation associated with the mining, but Marksman reassured that GESCO operates in a manner which would ensure the preservation of the surroundings.

“When extracting from the river bed, the materials are removed from under the top soil. The materials extracted for sale lie under the topsoil. When the mining is completed, the topsoil is then put back. Very often the river itself assists with the process, plus it is not our policy to operate below the river,” Marksman explained.

Although the scarcity of cement over the recent months has caused a slow down in the construction industry, sales of both Rabacca and bay sand have increased at GESCO’s operation.