In T&T: Battle over plans for US$600m La Brea plant

13 January 2012


Smelter déjà vu? Jury is out on plant as Kubalsingh indicates “plant may or may not pose a threat to the surrounding areas.”

ENVIRONMENTALIST Dr Wayne Kublalsingh who was part of a movement which successfully fought plans to establish steel plants at Claxton Bay and La Brea says there must be consultation with residents of La Brea before any industrial plant is built.

Local and foreign companies are examining the possibility of building an iron and steel complex with an estimated cost of $US600 million at the Union Industrial Estate in La Brea.

Kublalsingh said yesterday, “I think we need to consult with the people in La Brea and we need to get some more details. … There is room on the La Brea Industrial Estate but it is a funny kind of industrial estate (which) is very close to residents.”

He added: “In the final analysis the people of La Brea will have to decide because they need to consult with them to find out exactly what is possible before they sign any (Memorandum of Understanding) and before they try to get certification.”

Kublalsingh said two years ago, Indian company ESSAR wanted to build a similar complex at Claxton Bay but because Claxton Bay residents opposed its establishment, it was never built.

Kublalsingh said the plant may or may not pose a threat to the surrounding areas.

Member of Parliament for La Brea Fitzgerald Jeffrey said yesterday the possible construction of an iron and steel complex at La Brea was a good idea but constituents would not be convinced until construction is complete and the industry is fully operational.

He said since the People’s Partnership government came into power, several promises have been made to construct several industries in the area, but none was fulfilled.

The plant being looked at will be located on the Union Industrial Estate, where plans were underway to construction a smelter until legal action was taken to stop the project.

Jeffrey said: “Iron and steel is not toxic. It will be a good thing but the question is, is it really coming? It has a high unemployment rate in my constituency. In some areas like Rancho Quemado (near Erin) there is 40 per cent unemployment and I really want industry to come to La Brea.”

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