Minister Bharrat calls for increased aggregate production
to meet local demand, boost economy
Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat has called on miners to do more to boost the production of aggregate materials to meet local demand, and further strengthen the economy.
The Minister made the call Tuesday, during a quarrying seminar sponsored by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), to encourage the effective management of quarriable resources.
“With our vision to modernise and to transform our economy and to build new highways, and with oil and gas bringing to Guyana so much investments, we realise that the demand for building materials would increase tremendously.”
Guyana’s demand last year was some 900,000 tonnes. Minister Bharrat said the demand could reach 1.5 million tonnes over the next two years, although the country is producing at 650,000 tonnes per year. He said the Government has been importing over 200,000 tonnes of construction aggregate annually to address the shortfall.
“Importing stones or aggregates for the last five years represents a loss in opportunity for you. It represents a loss in opportunity for Guyanese businesses. It represents a loss in revenue for our country. It represents a loss in employment and business opportunities for Guyanese, and Guyanese businesses.”
The Minister said the Government is working to reduce importation of the material. He recalled that when the PPP/C assumed office, quarry operators were encouraged to boost production to meet the existing demand. He said the Government recently granted some licenses and is expected to give more to meet the escalating demand.
“We have to grab the opportunity now. Otherwise, you will force the Government to continue to import aggregates from other countries because we have to meet the local demand, and that is not something that we want to do. That is not something as a Government we would like to do, because it takes foreign currency out of our country.”
The Minister said local businesses must realise that partnerships are necessary to meet the growing demand. He recommitted to working in the best interests of miners, and urged them to see the GGMC as their partner.
GGMC’s Commissioner, Mr. Newell Dennison was also in attendance.