Antigua and Barbuda looks to sand mining as new source of revenue

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Hon. Dean Jonas

A report was presented to the Antigua and Barbuda Government yesterday regarding harvesting open water sand deposits. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.

The report, presented by Minister of Social Transformation and Blue Economy Dean Jonas, said that billions of tons of sand is available in Antigua and Barbuda’s exclusive economic zone and could be harvested safely over a 20-year period.

A note from the cabinet the Fisheries Department, Department of Environment and Development Control Authority will all play a role in ensuring that sand harvesting can be done safely and securely without affecting fish stocks or the environment.

When questioned today at the post-cabinet media briefing on whether the government would be able to afford the equipment and expertise needed to extract sand safely, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas said protecting the environment will be key when mining begins.

“Where there is insufficient capacity, we will certainly have to outsource that. But clearly, there seems to be significant deposits of sand in that area. The work is going to be done between the Coast Guard, between the Department of Environment, Public Works and all the agencies of government to ensure that we can achieve the commercial object of harvesting the sand while maintaining the pristine ecological environment,” he stated.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone is 110,089 square kilometres and is estimated to have several billion dollars worth of resources including marine life.

The government is working with the Commonwealth and the University of the West Indies to ensure it can maximise the potential of the blue economy through the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Oceanography and the Blue Economy Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda.