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Grapevine - Montserrat port back in operation after 15 years

The government of Montserrat is giving sand miners who ship through the reopened Plymouth Port a 50 per cent reduction on export charges.

This was announced by Premier Reuben Meade through the Government Information Unit. Shamrock Industries Ltd coordinated the shipping of 3,000 tons of sand from the once abandoned port, now part of the island’s Exclusion Zone.

Nigel Osborne, owner of Shamrock Industries, said three companies had taken up the government’s invitation to ship sand via the pier, which has been out of use since the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano over 15 years ago.

Premier Meade said the first day of shipping had gone smoothly and he praised the public and private partners for their joint efforts. He said that use of the port would allow the sand mining industry to continue uninhibited by the increase in roadworks in the north of the island. 

Previously, miners had to take the sand from Belham Valley to the port at Little Bay. That has been put on hold as roadworks begin in earnest from Salem to St John’s. A weight restriction has also been imposed for trucks, limiting the quantity of sand that can be carried on the main roads. 

In November 2011 the Scientific Advisory Committee lowered the Hazard Level from three to two, thus allowing daytime access to the Exclusion Zone.