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A team from the Pacific Community (SPC) visited the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) from the 23rd – 31st of October 2023 to present key findings of the aggregates study aimed at finding good sources of aggregates (sand and gravel) that can be used for construction.
One of the key activities of the World Bank-funded Pacific Resilience Project II (PREP II) project is focused on identifying aggregate sources for construction. This work commenced in 2021 with an Environment and Social Assessment of the aggregate resource followed by a geophysical survey of the Majuro and Ebeye lagoon from March to June 2023. The fieldwork included a multi-beam survey of the seabed at selected sites and UXO survey for unexploded ordinances. Samples were also collected and analysed at the SPC laboratory. The lidar data was used to identify potential sites where they may good sources of aggregates in the Majuro and Ebeye lagoon.
The SPC team presented key findings of the geotechnical reports to the Government, including the Kwajalein Local Government, KADA, and key stakeholder reps in Ebeye. The Kwajalein Mayor and Iroij, Killi Kabua stated “This is a very important piece of work for the Kwajalein Local Government as we have a lot of construction work to be implemented through various projects including land reclamation, road works, Ebeye sea wall and rehabilitation of the rubbish dump area to name a few. The key findings from SPC indicate that there are sufficient sources of aggregates at the respective sites in the lagoon for our construction projects which is really pleasing to note.”
SPC Geotechnical Adviser, Mr. Gary Lee, stated, “Atoll nations face unique challenges sourcing aggregates, mainly due to the geology of the islands. But the good news is, our research has identified significant amounts of aggregate resources in the lagoons of Majuro and Ebeye.” Mr. Lee added, “SPC’s role is to produce the science, then it is the role of local decision-makers to determine how best to use this science to inform decisions. SPC has previously mapped similar lagoon aggregate resources in Tuvalu and Kiribati. Tuvalu is currently using these aggregates to create new elevated land, and Kiribati is using them for a range of construction projects.”
SPC’s economics team is also working on a Market Assessment Report, which will be made available to Government around mid-November 2023. SPC will then develop a Consolidated Report taking into account the environment and market study with recommendations to Government on best practices and how the aggregate resource can be managed that will be available in March 2024. This will inform policy and regulations for Government to consider to manage the resource.
The Meetings on Ebeye were coordinated by the CIU/DIDA Ministry of Finance. The SPC PREP II project is implemented by SPC with a budget of USD4 million focused on Marshall Islands. The main objective is to strengthen early warning and coastal management. The project has undertaken ocean modelling to inform solutions to coastal flooding that included building operational capacity at the National Disaster Management Office. The project is scheduled to close on 31 March 2024.
For more information, please contact:
Litea Biukoto – Team Leader, Disaster Risk Management
George Beck – PREP Project Manager