WITH an anticipated increase in infrastructural development across the country, government is working to get a German technician into Guyana, in order to complete work on the modern Eco 2000 Batch Mix Asphalt Plant.
The $488 million plant arrived in Guyana in July 2019 and once completed will be able to produce 160 tonnes of material per hour. This is in contrast to the present plant in operation which produces only 30 tonnes of material per hour. The plant was purchased using revenues generated by Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC) so it did not require funds from the Consolidated Fund.
The mechanical installation of the plant is about 98 per cent complete, with just one piece of equipment yet to be installed by a German technician.
“My instructions are that a German technician has to come in for the completion and installation of the necessary equipment,” said Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, following a tour of the plant, on Friday.
He said the technician should arrive in Guyana, very soon, on one of the chartered Eastern Airline flights out of New York.
The asphalt plant, which operates under the DHBC, will be critical in the months/years to come, as it will cater to the needs of the infrastructure sector.
“We intend that with the passage of budget 2020, there will be accelerated procurement and in that environment, roads and development in communities will have to accelerate, so we want to ensure we have this plant up and running,” said Minister Edghill.
The minister said a $488 million investment cannot just be sitting around, gathering dust, when it can be utilised by both the private and public sectors. At the same time, he believes that the mandate of this facility is to ensure that the prices are competitive when compared to that of private sector operators, who are in business of a similar nature.
Being competitive also means ensuring that there is no shortage of asphaltic concrete to help with the development agenda of not just the government, but other sectors.
“We have to work out ways and means of ensuring that we are always in supply of bitumen which has to be shipped by containers out of Geneva…we have to ensure that we have the quality stones, sand and other raw materials on site,” said Minister Edghill.
The facility will be under the ‘spotlight’ so management is expected to be proactive at all times. It will be used to service miscellaneous roads, urban roads, and the potential bypass road from Ogle to Diamond, among other things.
“From then onwards, this becomes an important facility…so training of operators is key and the maintenance schedules must be kept because this is a key asset of the country,” said Minister Edghill.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, also advised management of the facility to always have support services because it is an automated plant.
Support services will be pivotal in ensuring that when Guyana experiences its economic boom, there is no technical glitch which will hamper the progress which will come in the form of roads, bridges, interconnection of highways and so forth.