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Thread: Singapore looking to re-open granite quarry

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    Default Singapore looking to re-open granite quarry

    Singapore looking to re-open granite quarry

    Posted: 09 April 2007 1403 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singapore is looking at re-opening a granite quarry on Pulau Ubin, according to Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu.

    She said this on Monday in response to questions from MPs in Parliament on whether Singapore had alternative sources of granite.

    Singapore's supply of granite and sand from Indonesia had been affected recently when Jakarta announced a ban on sand exports and later detained some barges carrying granite to Singapore.

    Ms Fu said that while Singapore has sourced and received imports from other granite sources, efforts will be made to ensure that the supply line is further diversified to enhance resilience for the local construction industry.

    She said that while Singapore looks to buy from as many sources as possible, to build its stockpile and work with the industry for more sustainable construction methods, one other alternative is to look into the local granite sources.

    Ms Fu said there will be some limited quarrying and the HDB will look into re-opening one of its quarries on Pulau Ubin.

    Pulau Ubin lies on the northeastern tip of Singapore.

    The island was once a thriving centre for granite quarrying, employing several hundreds of quarry workers.

    When limited quarrying work is started on the outlying island of Ubin, Ms Fu said efforts will be made to ensure environment protection.

    Ms Fu said marine life, which is rich on Pulau Ubin, will be taken care of with measurements being made of the water content discharged as well as the discharge rate from the quarry site.

    Safety is another issue that's being kept in mind and Ms Fu said precautions will be taken such as the sounding of sirens to warn of blasting and the use of barricades to cordon off the area when blasting takes place.

    In addition, dust from the blasting will be both monitored and managed.

    Ms Fu revealed that the Kekek Quarry has been chosen for re-opening as it is far from the residential area of Pulau Ubin, therefore minimising the impact on the island's residents.

    At the same time, Kekek is close to a barge so granite can be transported with disruptions to life on the island kept minimal.

    She said the consensus is to keep Pulau Ubin as a place for leisure, so blasting and mining activities will not take place on weekends or at night.

    At the end of the exercise, Ms Fu said, efforts will also be made to rehabilitate the quarry area. - CNA/ir

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    Default Re: Singapore looking to re-open granite quarry

    Published April 10, 2007

    YESTERDAY IN PARLIAMENT

    Pulau Ubin granite quarry may reopen

    Need to tap local sources as Indonesia extends sand export ban

    By MATTHEW PHAN


    SINGAPORE is looking at reopening a former granite quarry on Pulau Ubin as part of a wider plan to diversify its sources of building materials.

    One option is to 'tap our local granite sources, should the need arise', Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu told Parliament yesterday.

    According to news reports over the past month, Indonesian officials have discussed extending the country's ban on exports of land sand to Singapore to include granite, which could affect the local building industry.

    Indonesia has also detained several vessels carrying granite to Singapore, on suspicion they were smuggling sand.

    On the Ubin quarry plan, Ms Fu said yesterday: 'It is necessary to carry out some limited quarrying to understand the issues involved in reactivating quarries, such as the preparatory works and time involved, and the mitigating measures to put in place. HDB (Housing and Development Board) will look into restarting one of its former quarries in Pulau Ubin.'

    Foreign Minister George Yeo told Parliament yesterday that Indonesia has inspected the vessels it detained and updated the Singapore Government on the result. A note was received on Thursday, April 5, Mr Yeo said.

    Twenty-two tugs and barges were detained. Seven are alleged to have violated the sand ban and others to have infringed other laws. Only three of the 22 vessels are Singaporean, Mr Yeo said.

    Indonesia's foreign minister has 'assured me that the verification process would be transparent', he said. 'These cases will now be taken up through the legal process in Indonesia.'

    Asked whether the detention of the vessels marks a 'diplomatic failure' or a failure of Asean, Mr Yeo said the matter is bilateral and Indonesia is within its rights to ban sand exports for environmental reasons. 'Officials have talked about various motives, but the official reason given to us is environmental and we have to take it at face value,' he said.

    Indonesia and Singapore are mutually dependent and cooperate in other areas and must 'manage discrete problems on their own account', Mr Yeo said.

    Meanwhile, Ms Fu said the government will share up to 75 per cent of the price increase in sand and granite to help local construction firms. She urged industry players to cooperate in other ways to cope with any disruption, saying public agencies have started to make progress payments on projects and private developers should do likewise.

    The higher cost of sand and granite amounts to an estimated 2 per cent of overall project cost, Ms Fu said. 'That's not a very significant proportion and at its current state, the market is still in a very good position to benefit from the upswing.'

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