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Drones to carry out quarry surveys

The use of drones to conduct surveys of quarries across the country is expected to bring efficiency to the use of manpower and resources to capture the most accurate data on the production of quarries.

The implementation of this technology at the National Quarries Company Limited is expected to significantly cut down the time taken to conduct the surveys by conventional means.

Pitched as the ideal system to survey the quarries, Director, Minerals at the Energy and Energy Ministries, Monty Beharry told the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises that advertisements will be placed in newspapers soon to attract suppliers of the drones.

“We have been discussing at the Minerals Advisory Committee the use of technology, and currently there are several different types of technology available.”

“We have been looking at the use of unmanned aircraft systems, also called drones. We have been scoping the requirements for drones and very soon, we will be placing an ad in the newspapers requesting persons to submit requesting quotations for the supply of drones which would be able to capture that data for us so we could use that data to compute the volumes removed, then reconcile the books that were based on the honour system and say whether the operators have been reporting accurately or not.”

The current system of surveying features an honour system which involves a paper system of record keeping of the data submitted by operators, which then has to be visually verified by officers acting on behalf of National Quarries.

“We should be able to get a much more accurate figure for production from the quarries, which ties back to the revenue due to the state,” Beharry stated.

The move was applauded by JSC Chairman David Small who noted the use of drones was popular in the mining sectors of other countries as it allows for the “highly accurate recording of the removal of spoil from those areas”.

He said it was important to use all available avenues to ensure that the goalmine sector is properly utilised for increased revenue generation.

Meanwhile, in the course of addressing the issue of illegal and unlicenced mining and quarrying operations being carried out by various entities, it was revealed that National Quarries was among a number of operators have been conducting business without licences.

National Quarries Chairman Ulric Warner said the company’s licence had expired and it is currently awaiting the renewal of its licence.

It was also noted than an approximated $49 million in licence fees and royalties was from operators.

Warner told the Committee that payments have begun as the company’s legal team ensured that payments from these operators are forthcoming.

The National Quarries Chairman also noted that it met a mountain of debt upon the new Board taking up its responsibilities in November 2015.

He said while a large sum still remains to be paid, some of the debt has been cleared and the company is paying as much as it can to the State on a consistent basis.

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