Guyana is currently enjoying an ample supply of stone compared to a year ago, and producers have guaranteed that this will continue and assured that the industry is not exporting stone at present.
Last Monday Transport and Hydraulics Minister Robeson Benn told Stabroek News that at present the country is not exporting stone, after he was asked to comment on concerns that the country was doing so. The minister commented on the issue in an interview at Le Meridien Pegasus hotel, where he was meeting a Trinidad and Tobago trade mission to Guyana to introduce that country’s energy services to the market.
Minister Benn noted that Linden Quarries, a subsidiary of BK International Inc, formerly Mazaruni Granite Products Ltd (MGPL), the largest producer of stone products, would have to scale-up production to be able to export to the region. He was asked if the T&T market was being targeted for stone exports and he said that country would be one of the places under consideration.
He assured, however, that as far as Linden Quarry goes they are not exporting stone “at the moment.” Linden Quarry was said to be working to meet local demand and they may be looking to export regionally.
A large user of stone products had told Stabroek News that if stone was exported it would lead to a shortage on the market and price increases which would adversely affect the construction industry.
Stabroek News inquired what could be the likely impact on the local market if stone is exported and Benn explained that as stone production improves there will be enough to export. It was also explained that Linden Quarry is also swamped with supplying boulders for government projects either directly or through contracts.
A representative from the second largest stone producer, Toolsie Persaud Ltd (TPL) also reiterated that the company is not exporting stone. According to this source, three to four months ago the company exported one shipment of what it considered a slow selling stone product, emphasizing that the much-in-demand size like 3/4 inch was not exported.
At present, TPL said they cannot afford to export stone because the overseas buyers do not want to buy the stone as “transportation costs does not make it economical.”
It was said that it is cheaper to purchase stone from North America and the Caribbean than from Guyana.
“(The) Guyana market has first priority to all stone produced in Guyana,” declared the TPL representative, and there is no question regarding the availability of stone on the market.
Stone is being retailed at $6,300 in the city and this is a slightly better price than during the shortage in 2005 and early last year, when stone prices reached $10,000 per tonne in stores outside the city and $6,500-$7,000 in the city.
The TPL representative said that it is expected that the prices would remain stable for the year, but fuel and steel prices would determine what stone prices would be.