Monday, April 09, 2007

"Singapore looking to reopen granite quarry"

Have you figured out yet where the quartet was going last Saturday? Here's the video in question: Ubin Journies Ep 1

Singapore looking to reopen granite quarry
Posted: 09 April 2007
Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: Singapore is looking at reopening 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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