24 May 2013

Pagan's pozzolan could be lost warn CNMI senators

3:13 pm on 24 May 2013

The Northern Marianas Senate has asked the governor, Eloy Inos, and the Department of Public Lands to reinstate a commercial mining permit on Pagan.

The island has a natural supply of pozzolan, which is volcanic ash used as an additive to make cement.

The United States military is proposing to take over Pagan for training and live fire exercises, a plan that has attracted opposition from an indigenous rights group, which also backs the mining bid.

Senators say by allowing JG Sablan Rock Incorporated to mine pozzolan on Pagan, the government could generate millions of dollars worth of revenue that could help improve the island's infrastructure.

They say the company is ready to proceed with mining on Pagan and has an investor who is prepared to finance the project if the mining permit is reinstated.

There are an estimated 12 and 200 million metric tonnes of pozzolan on Pagan, but the senators say it could be lost forever if the US military uses the island for live-fire training.