Home Ministry of Works Minister of Works says no license was needed for blasting activity

Minister of Works says no license was needed for blasting activity

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As part of today’s Sitting of the House of Representatives, members of the opposition were given the opportunity to ask questions, which were submitted prior to the Sitting of the Government Ministers. Some of the questions dealt with the explosion that killed Canadian national Ronald Sutherland last month at the quarry in the Santa Cruz Area in Santa Elena Town.  According to an Environmental Compliance Plan, ECP, for the George Price Highway rehabilitation project from Miles 49 to 79 suggest that Belize Roadway Construction which was contracted to carry out the road works and which contracted Tiger Aggregates to do the blast may have committed an offense for illegal mining. That’s because a mining license should have been requested. Today Minister of Works Rene Montero was asked about it.

RENE MONTERO, MINISTER OF WORKS 

“In August of 2017, the Ministry of Works entered into a contract with the Belize Roadway Construction after a competitive procurement process for the rehabilitation of the George Price Highway, the George Price Avenue, Liberty Street and associated works in Santa Elena. Due to the size and complexity of the project, it was agreed that the Ministry of Works team of engineers would execute the supervision and implementation of the construction contract. In order to obtain road construction materials that met project technical specifications, investigation of a previously used rocky source in Santa Elena began. To obtain the high-quality road construction material the construction contract entered into an agreement with Tiger Aggregates Limited, a company which has been operating a rock blasting and crushing business for many years. In this case, there was a blast design which was done by the licensed blaster from Tiger Aggregates Limited. To obtain a blasting license the applicant must submit a request to the Belize Police Department who is the nominated authority to evaluate and approve such license.”

DEAN BARROW, PRIME MINISTER OF BELIZE 

“Don’t bring to me any argument that Montero is somehow involved in Tiger Aggregates.”

REPORTER

“But a mining license was required he’s saying none was acquired.”

DEAN BARROW, PRIME MINISTER OF BELIZE 

 “Not from him ma’am. Listen. If you are talking about what he said today in the House I can go back and check that I wouldn’t be able to repeat his words verbatim. As far as I know, a blasting license is issued annually by the police. It’s not a project-specific license. You get an annual license. When you are working a quarry you required a mining license from the Ministry of Natural Resources and when you get that mining license that would deal with the question of the methodology of your quarrying. At that point, it has nothing to do with the Ministry of Works. If the Tiger Aggregates people did not follow the right procedure and did not get the mining license from the Ministry of Natural Resources then that is something that clearly was wrong and needs to be looked at.”

According to Montero, a mining license was not needed in this case because quote, “it was just a blast to check if the material was adequate.” end of quote.

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