The Cristobal Colon dredger of Jan De Nul dredging at Ile Du Port in 2011. (Seychelles Nation)
Seychelles authorities have approved a class two environment impact assessment (EIA) that will allow for the extraction of sand that is managed by the state-owned Islands Development Company (IDC) to replenish its depleted stockpile of 500 cubic metres.
The announcement was made by the chief executive of IDC, Glenny Savy, in a recent press conference.
“Now that all the administrative work has been carried out, we expect the dredger to be in the country in January to February next year,” said Savy, who added that the venture will cost IDC around $4 – $4.5 million to complete, but that it will recoup its expenses through the sale of sand.
Seychelles’ sand stockpile is situated at Ile du Port, a man-made island, and dredging was undertaken by Jan De Nul’s Cristobal Colon dredger, which last visited the island nation in 2011.
Since the site identified after the last dredging has been given to companies for the fishing port development, the new site will be located at Ile Aurore, a man-made island in the north of Mahe, the main island.
The Ministry of Environment identified two sites for the extraction work, one in the west of Mahe and the other close to Silhouette, the third largest island.
“There was no need for a class one EIA this time around, but we have carried out a class two, which takes into account facts established in the first study,” explained Savy.
Local contractor, Ecosol carried out the independent class two environmental impact assessment.
The authorities later settled on the works to mainly take place near Silhouette, which Savy said that is because “the quality of sand we will be extracting from there is of good quality.”
He explained that the sand due to be extracted is not like what is found on the beaches, as it contains quartz and gravel as it was found in the past that there were rivers in those areas in the past.
Once the dredging work is completed, IDC will replenish the stock to around 500 – 600 cubic metres, which expects to be enough to cater to consumers’ needs for the coming 10 years.
Savy revealed that the authorities should begin to look for a more permanent location to keep the stockpile in the future.
Meanwhile, since IDC has been managing the stockpile over the last decade, Savy said he believed his company has been doing a good job, as “there have not been any complaints, I think people were satisfied with what we were giving them.”