New Iloilo quarry applicants to boost sand, gravel supply
The new quarry applicants for the third quarter this year is expected to increase Iloilo’s supply of sand and gravel, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) said on Tuesday.
Lawyer Arturo Cangrejo, officer-in-charge of PENRO, said 26 quarry applications are being processed.
“Fifteen were endorsed by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board that can possibly start operation once signed (by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr.) and we have 11 papers endorsed for processing in the Office of the Governor,” he said.
With the outset of the construction of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project (JRMP) II in Calinog town, Cangrejo said the province has to ensure enough quarry materials to support the project.
Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., contractor of the JRMP II, earlier expressed its concerns on the need for sand and aggregates.
Cangrejo said he was informed by Daewoo that the “peak” for the JRMP construction will be from 2020 to 2022.
He said the JRMP II will need more or less one million cubic meters of sand and gravel for the three-year construction period.
“For now, I think the quarry operators can still handle the need for the JRMP,” he said.
He reiterated that by the trending presented by Daewoo, the PENRO has to schedule the approval of the permits “to make sure that we have available supply in time the project needs.”
As of July, the PENRO has approved 72 sand and gravel; 18 industrial sand and gravel; and 58 quarry mountain quarry applications.
Cangrejo also encouraged new applicants to venture into mountain quarrying.
“Our major source of sand and gravel are the rivers but we would like to shift to mountain quarries like basalt. These are good materials,” he said.
Rivers in the province are also slowly becoming depleted of quarry materials, Cangrejo noted.
A team from PENRO is also deployed to monitor the rivers.
“Now, rivers have not yet replenished because there were no big floods. We are on the look-out that the quarry permittees to source sand and gravel from old river channels which is illegal because they do not have the permission to extract there,” he said.
Although the cost of mountain quarrying is “more expensive” than sourcing sand and gravel in rivers, Cangrejo said the province also has to tap “unproductive” mountains.
The mountains of San Miguel and Cabatuan towns are ideal sources of ordinary earth; the mountains of Dumangas town and Passi City can provide limestones, and mountains of Anilao and northern Iloilo towns can be sources of basalt, he said.