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Sand miners accept option of using the Plymouth Port for sand export

Seven trucks were used to load a 3000 ton barge with sand from the Belham Valley

Last year at the last Governor’s press conference that the Premier Meade attended he was asked the question whether in light of the on-going discussions about constructing a jetty at Isles Bay, any thought was being given to the use of the jetty in Plymouth. The Premier responded that as he looked up to the mountain he did not think that anything would happen in the near future.

However, in a few weeks from then, in November 2011 the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) lowered Hazard Level from three to two which allowed for daytime access to the Exclusion Zone. There came the relaxation of entry into the exclusion zone making it possible for the sand miners and the government to turn their attention away from the awaited Environmental Impact Assessment on sand mining and a jetty at Isles Bay.

A truck dumps sand on a barge at the Port in Plymouth, Montserrat

The sand miners showed little interest as they bellyached about the fact that new road traffic laws required them to reduce their truck loads in order to transport sand to the north from the Belham. Heavy Plant Associates a conglomeration of most sand miners came out against what was claimed as a move aimed at stifling their operation. They complained when work started on the Nantes river road rehabilitation project, which required traffic to flow through the Olveston subdivision, whereby they were not allowed to carry any trucks loaded with sand to the north.

Chedmond Browne, former member of parliament during the 2001-6 session spoke on behalf of the sand miners. “You’re asking the sand mining industry, you are asking the whole industry to sit and wait while you fix a sector of the road and you are denying them access to a bypass,” said.

But Ron Beardsley PWD director had this to say in retort to the sand miners. ‘…it was unfortunate that the sand miners were thinking the decision was taken to stifle their operation. There was never a move to prevent the sand miners form carrying out their operation.’

Director of the DMCA Billy Darroux and owner of Shamrock Industries Ltd. Nigel Osborne

The PWD director said the decision was taken last September to reduce the rate of the truck who are operating on the road…it must not be seen as a decision taken over night because it was done last year and the miners were briefed he said. In addition he said the miners were given that extended period over the Christmas break to stock up material delaying the start of the Nantes river project to February. He said, ‘There was no decision to stop the trucks from using the bypass but they must do so with the stipulated reduced capacity of 8 tons per axle.’

Meanwhile the EIA report surfaced which did not favour sand mining down the mouth of the Belham nor the construction of a jetty at Isles Bay beach, which is now being populated by beach lovers. The sand miners quickly turned their attention to the Plymouth jetty as they followed the lead of Nigel Osborne and Shamrock Industries to stockpile sand at Lover’s Lane and in turn shipping from the reopened Plymouth port.

Premier and Minister of Finance Reuben Meade responded as he announced a 50% reduction on export charges for a limited time. This after the Premier outlined the assistance his government provided to the effort of getting their first shipment out at Plymouth port.

The truckers surprised many. While expressing satisfaction and confidence that the resumption of shipping from Plymouth would benefit the truckers but also the island as well, made the suggestion that  government should not abandon its plans to build a permanent facility either at Foxes or Isles Bay.

“What is it these guys know that has not yet been told?” asked one observer, who believes that it is foolhardy to destroy a lucrative source of revenue for what has still yet to prove its sustainability and economic benefit to the island. “Could it be they did not give the true revenue figures to the officials?” one official asked.

The photos supplied with this story are from the Government Information Unit. Unfortunately TMR had no knowledge and had not been informed of the quickly planned shipment from Plymouth

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Seven trucks were used to load a 3000 ton barge with sand from the Belham Valley

Last year at the last Governor’s press conference that the Premier Meade attended he was asked the question whether in light of the on-going discussions about constructing a jetty at Isles Bay, any thought was being given to the use of the jetty in Plymouth. The Premier responded that as he looked up to the mountain he did not think that anything would happen in the near future.

However, in a few weeks from then, in November 2011 the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) lowered Hazard Level from three to two which allowed for daytime access to the Exclusion Zone. There came the relaxation of entry into the exclusion zone making it possible for the sand miners and the government to turn their attention away from the awaited Environmental Impact Assessment on sand mining and a jetty at Isles Bay.

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A truck dumps sand on a barge at the Port in Plymouth, Montserrat

The sand miners showed little interest as they bellyached about the fact that new road traffic laws required them to reduce their truck loads in order to transport sand to the north from the Belham. Heavy Plant Associates a conglomeration of most sand miners came out against what was claimed as a move aimed at stifling their operation. They complained when work started on the Nantes river road rehabilitation project, which required traffic to flow through the Olveston subdivision, whereby they were not allowed to carry any trucks loaded with sand to the north.

Chedmond Browne, former member of parliament during the 2001-6 session spoke on behalf of the sand miners. “You’re asking the sand mining industry, you are asking the whole industry to sit and wait while you fix a sector of the road and you are denying them access to a bypass,” said.

But Ron Beardsley PWD director had this to say in retort to the sand miners. ‘…it was unfortunate that the sand miners were thinking the decision was taken to stifle their operation. There was never a move to prevent the sand miners form carrying out their operation.’

Director of the DMCA Billy Darroux and owner of Shamrock Industries Ltd. Nigel Osborne

The PWD director said the decision was taken last September to reduce the rate of the truck who are operating on the road…it must not be seen as a decision taken over night because it was done last year and the miners were briefed he said. In addition he said the miners were given that extended period over the Christmas break to stock up material delaying the start of the Nantes river project to February. He said, ‘There was no decision to stop the trucks from using the bypass but they must do so with the stipulated reduced capacity of 8 tons per axle.’

Meanwhile the EIA report surfaced which did not favour sand mining down the mouth of the Belham nor the construction of a jetty at Isles Bay beach, which is now being populated by beach lovers. The sand miners quickly turned their attention to the Plymouth jetty as they followed the lead of Nigel Osborne and Shamrock Industries to stockpile sand at Lover’s Lane and in turn shipping from the reopened Plymouth port.

Premier and Minister of Finance Reuben Meade responded as he announced a 50% reduction on export charges for a limited time. This after the Premier outlined the assistance his government provided to the effort of getting their first shipment out at Plymouth port.

The truckers surprised many. While expressing satisfaction and confidence that the resumption of shipping from Plymouth would benefit the truckers but also the island as well, made the suggestion that  government should not abandon its plans to build a permanent facility either at Foxes or Isles Bay.

“What is it these guys know that has not yet been told?” asked one observer, who believes that it is foolhardy to destroy a lucrative source of revenue for what has still yet to prove its sustainability and economic benefit to the island. “Could it be they did not give the true revenue figures to the officials?” one official asked.

The photos supplied with this story are from the Government Information Unit. Unfortunately TMR had no knowledge and had not been informed of the quickly planned shipment from Plymouth