With the new Asphalt Plant in use for roughly six months, the government has managed to rake in profits in 2021 totalling $173M from the sale of asphalt, a mixture of sand, different sizes of stones and bitumen.
Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill said Monday that asphalt sales have become a lucrative business for the government with the money now placed in the Consolidated Fund, resting for reinjection into the economy as the government rolls out its development agenda for 2022.
Plant Manager Rory Ramdas told the News Room that the government-run facility is now competing with private operators on a level playing field following the removal of the requirement for contractors executing government projects to take asphalt from the facility.
Ramdas said the quality of the asphalt coming mainly from the Garden of Eden facility on the East Bank of Demerara is of the highest quality and unmatched locally.
But asphalt is not only being produced by the new ECO 2000 plant; the company also has a plant aback Vriesland, a tiny village on the West Bank Demerara and still uses the old DM 50 plant at Garden of Eden.
“For the ECO-2000 there is no other plant in the Caribbean that can produce at that rate. In an eight-hour shot we can produce up to 1, 120 tonnes,” the Plant Manager explained.
But is it enough for the development that is about to take place in Guyana?
“It is,” Ramdas assured, noting that the plant produces mainly on demand taking into consideration the unique challenges with producing and transporting asphalt.
“Would the current road structures and transportation link to the various areas allow it? Because it is something that you cannot hold and keep… let’s say for instance flour you can bag that and keep it but for asphalt you can only keep it for just about 45 minutes after production,” he explained.
Currently, the government’s facility can produce and transport asphalt to any region in Guyana.
The plant was supportive in providing the commodity for the Sherrif/Mandela Road project and the authorities there have submitted quotations to provide asphalt for the Linden to Mabura road and the approach road to the new Demerara Harbour Crossing.
Rainy weather and transportation time remain an issue.
While the plant here produces hot mix at 160 degrees Celsius, the lesser grade cold mix is also imported and sold by the same company.