BK International says that it is at a loss over the Government’s intentions to import stone for infrastructural works. According to the company, it has more than adequate supply for the market demand.
BK International held a press conference yesterday in response to an article published in Chronicle about Government’s intentions to importing stone to satisfy growing demand. The Chronicle article stated that “The President said he had recently reviewed the pending and ongoing infrastructural works in the country and realized they were beset by challenges, one of which is the inability of the local quarry establishments to produce adequate amounts of stone to satisfy current demand.”
Public Relations Consultant for BK, Kit Nascimento, said, “There is no shortage of stone in the country …the president has been wrongly and badly advised.”
According to Gail Tiwarie, Director responsible for materials, the Kingston site has approximately 10,000 tons of stone in stockpile, and another 10,000 tons at the quarry which is producing over 40,000 tons of stone per month. Supply is greater than demand, she said.
The decision to import stone apparently comes reportedly from contractors complaining that they are not getting access to, and limited supply of stone.
“President Ramotar said many contractors already have works ongoing in other sectors, but have been unable to start on new contracts they have been awarded because their resources are otherwise tied up. And all this can be blamed on the shortage of stone, needed to complete construction of infrastructural works,” the Chronicle reported.
However according to Ms Tiwarie, Sales and Marketing Director of BK quarries Inc “I do not have any outstanding orders from any contractors pertaining to uplifting materials or orders for materials.”
She added that the factors that one can deduce for contractors’ slow works are the high levels of rain as well as the recent decision by the company to limit the credit customers.
For the past two years the credit line for the company has exceeded $50 M which the company is finding difficult to recoup. As such a hold has been put on issuing credit for stone, with a requirement for payment being made on delivery of materials.
According to Nascimento it appears to be that contractors are claiming there is no stone when there is because they are short of the capacity to pay for it. An example was made where a company received an order from a “big contractor.”
The contractor, Dalip, wanted stone and actually claimed that none was available. Brian Tiwarie was contacted and told by Dalip that BK International did not have any stone available. As the contractor discovered, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Concerns Over stone quality
In addition to the complaint of unnecessary importation of stones BK Inc has also expressed concern about the imported stone which he Tiwarie said is known as slate stone. It is being imported by Gafsons with Government permission for the construction of roads and buildings.
According to Nascimento, his company is more at a loss at the government’s decision to import slate stone to be used in construction; it is an inferior stone and should not be used for road construction. Its load bearing capacity is way below the required standard.
For certain the quality of the stone is well below the quality of that supplied by BK Inc.
To substantiate their claims a test was conducted in BK’s geology laboratories to ascertain the quality of the crush stone. The imported slate stone was subjected to the same test as the granite stone that is being mined by BK Inc.
What was found was that the stone is more porous, and has a higher rate of failure when placed under pressure as opposed to the granite stone used by BK.
According to Julian Archer, the company’s Civil engineer and quality control specialist, the difference between slate stone and granite stone is 20 per cent in absorption, meaning that the slate stone will take more asphalt when used in construction of roads.
He further spoke of the wear index which shows a difference in the strength of the stone in this case by 11 per cent. In effect the slate stone would last a shorter period of time, because of the wear index it would be unable to bear heavy loads as opposed to the granite stones being used locally.
If the government wants to import stone then it should import quality stone. There is a bureau of standards but it is just turning a blind eye. This is according to Brian Tiwarie.
A price comparison was shown with slate stone cost over $9000 dollars per ton while BK’s granite sells for over $8,500 dollars per ton.
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