Amid a steadily growing demand for construction aggregates as Guyana is in the midst of a construction boom, over 4.2 million tonnes in construction aggregates (sand and stone) were declared in the 2023 first half.
According to the Bank of Guyana’s half-year report, both sand and crushed stone production increased in the 2023 first half, compared to the corresponding period for last year. While sand declarations recorded a 52.6 per cent increase, crushed stone also recorded a 71.7 per cent increase.
“Sand declared increased by 52.6 percent to 3,545,432 tonnes from 2,323,238 tonnes, while crushed stone declared, similarly, increased by 71.7 percent to 727,701 tonnes, during the review period.”
“The increase in declaration was driven by increased demand due to construction activities by both the private and public sector. Manganese production decreased by 21.9 percent to 138,640 tonnes, from 177,513 tonnes, one year earlier,” the Bank of Guyana stated.
It is detailed in the report that the construction sector experienced “sustained and robust growth”, which saw it expanding by 44.1 percent at end-June 2023. This outturn, according to the report, reflected the continued increase in Government infrastructure projects, along with rapid private sector development initiatives.
In addition to higher production from the other mining sector, specifically sand and stone, the report further notes that the mining and quarrying sector recorded output growth of 89.9 per cent, primarily from the oil and gas sector.
“Greater crude oil production contributed to the sizeable growth of the petroleum sector, while growth in construction activities influenced increased declarations in the other mining sector,” the report states.
It has previously been revealed that the massive road projects for the public sector in 2023 will require a whopping six million tonnes of aggregates and while this is viewed as a positive sign, the Government is now faced with the challenge of meeting these demands.
This was according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo while addressing a gathering at the launch of the part-time jobs in Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) late last year, where he shared that apart from the public sector’s demand, the private sector will also require significant aggregate resources.
At the national level, the country can produce about 600,000 tonnes, representing just 10 percent of the demand. For this, he shared that Government is exploring various options to keep the construction sector going. Neighbouring countries such as Suriname and Trinidad are also unable to fulfil these needs.
“We need next year, about six million tonnes of crusher-run and stones for the road programmes. That’s the public sector alone, leaving out the private sector, all the buildings and construction,” Jagdeo had said.
“With the new quarries coming on stream, we’ll probably be able to produce 10 percent of that, about 600,000 tonnes. We need 10 times more quarry products that we can produce…We may have to explore bringing in stone from Canada or some other part of the world if we want to keep the building programme going for the Government sector,” he had further shared.
The public sector side of spending has been a significant contributor to the construction boom. Of the $72.2 billion allocated for the housing and water sectors in this year’s budget, $54.5 billion was set aside for housing development in new and existing areas across the country.
The money will be used for development in new and existing areas, including the construction of roads, drains, and bridges and the installation of utilities to meet housing demands. Areas will include Mabaruma, Oronoque, Buxton/St Joseph, Stewartville, Wakenaam, Block A & B Hope, Success, Balthyock, and No 75 Village. The Government will also undertake infrastructural works in regularised areas, such as Charity, Tuschen, Chateau Margot, Block SS Sophia, Belvedere, and Amelia’s Ward.
In August of this year, $61.013 billion in supplementary funding was approved in the National Assembly. A significant chunk of this money, to the tune of $33.37 billion, is for the Public Works Ministry, spanning capital projects.
Some $25 billion for road works is for construction and rehabilitation of community roads; $1.5 billion for rehabilitation of hinterland roads and $1 billion for urban road works. Construction of the Wismar Bridge warranted a sum of $2.1 billion, while $600 million has been earmarked to address emerging threats along the sea and river defence network.
Emergency works and resources needed to restore the Kumaka and Supenaam Stellings are expected to cost $32.7 million from the estimates provided. For advancement of works at Kingston Goods Wharf and Morawhanna, Port Kaituma and Kumaka Stellings, $2.5 billion was requested from the House.