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Bigger Biggs to resume mining operations at Rabacca

Bigger Biggs to resume mining operations at Rabacca

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Four years after his mining licence was revoked, all legal and bureaucratic hurdles preventing businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel from resuming his mining operations at Rabacca have been removed.

In February 2011, Samuel had his licence to mine revoked as the {{more}} Government felt that his operations were negatively affecting the environment and that the terms of the contract were being violated.

While wrapping up debate of the 2015 Budget on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves revealed that he had met with Samuel, his children and Samuel’s advisory team on January 28, to discuss the restoration of the Bigger Biggs Trucking and Blocks Company.

The Prime Minister then read from a letter dated January 28 and signed by some members of Samuel’s team — Philmore Isaacs, Pastor Providence and Marlon Mills — which he said he received on February 2.

The letter thanked Gonsalves for meeting with them on the morning before the presentation of the 2015 Budget.

“We consider that the discussions were quite meaningful in outlining the direction to be taken in respect of the restoration process,” the letter said.

“…Coming out of our discussions, we understand that a consensus was reached on [Minister of Works] Senator [Julian] Francis’ view that there is no requirement for a quarry licence to be issued after all and that this is a correct approach,” the Prime Minister read.

“As we understand it, a quarry licence is only required in conditions where blasting and the use of explosives are involved and only in circumstances where the area being mined is declared to be a mining quarry. As Senator Francis aptly pointed out, and this was confirmed by Mr Samuel, the mining operation conducted by Bigger Biggs Trucking and Blocks Company at Rabacca entails only excavation of aggregate and no blasting of boulders takes place during the course of operations.”

The letter also highlighted that the government has made a commitment to facilitate technical and financial support for the restoration of the company’s operations.

“It was agreed that a statement of requirements towards resuming operations is to be prepared by the company’s technical team. Upon completion, the document will be made available to you and a meeting will be convened subsequently to discuss the requirements of the various elements of the operation and the Government’s contribution and participation in this effort,” the letter said.

When SEARCHLIGHT contacted Samuel yesterday, he declined to say how he felt about the recent developments. He however extended an invitation to the public to visit his site at Rabacca on February 14, where he will be having a press briefing and doing a number of other activities.

Samuel, who met with his team yesterday to finalize arrangements, indicated that there will be a tour of the site and he will address the questions of the media at that time.

The Prime Minister in his wrap up of the Budget stated that he has been speaking with the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and also the Attorney General, who has received a document from the ministry and will advise the Cabinet on the issue.

Gonsalves added that what Senator Francis has said makes sense and he accepts the assurance that Samuel has given in respect of not carrying blasting operations, even where there are big stones.

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