Gov’t trying to sell scrap metal

An Invitation to Tender in yesterday’s Caymanian Compass seeks to have interested parties bid on the purchase of scrap metals accumulated at the George Town Landfill.

The scrap metals include an estimated 4,000 derelict vehicles, up to 75 per cent of which are cars or trucks destroyed during Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

Minister of Communications, Works and Infrastructure Arden McLean said at the Cabinet press briefing last week that removing the metals would not only improve the aesthetics of the area, but free up a lot of space at the landfill.

Department of Environmental Health Assistant Director Solid Waste Sean McGinn said there were about three acres of land filled 13 feet high with old appliances and other scrap metal at the landfill.

‘And that’s just the loose scrap metals,’ he said. ‘There’s about another three acres of vehicles, too.’

The Invitation to Bid document also notes that there is an additional accumulation of metals scattered throughout the Cayman Islands that is estimated to be about half of the quantity at the George Town Landfill.

The DoEH will undertake an extensive advertising campaign to attempt to get the public to bring these scrap metals to the landfills after the successful bidder has cleared sufficient space there for the materials. The successful bidder would then have an opportunity to bid on that material as well.

Although there is no timeline specified for the removal of all the metal, Mr. McGinn said the DoEH expects to see the loose scrap metal removed before the start of the next hurricane season in June 2007.

‘We’re not as worried about the cars,’ Mr. McGinn said. ‘They’re not going to blow around.’

Most of the vehicles have had their batteries, tyres and fuel tanks removed. The DoEH has a plan to collect any additional fluids released during crushing prior export, Mr. McGinn said.

The successful bidder will most likely lease the new crusher/bailer that the DoEH has ordered to further process the cars for export. DoEH staffers would operate the machinery.

The metals could go to one of many places once they leave the Cayman Islands, Mr. McGinn said.

‘It might go on a ship straight to China. Or it could go straight to the [United] States or straight to Canada,’ he said. ‘But most scrap metal in the world is going to China right now.’

Where the ship is going will determine what kind of ship is used. If the metal is to go to Cuba or the United States, a barge could be used. If it’s going farther, a different kind of ship would likely be necessary.

Mr. McGinn confirmed there have been some offers to purchase the metals already.

‘We’ve had interest from several people over the last while,’ he said, noting however, that it is Government policy to put something like this out to tender before awarding a contract.

Mr. McLean said it did not matter to him who bid on the purchase, which is open to people from anywhere.

‘It bothers me not who does it,’ he said. ‘I just want the material out of here.

‘The country needs to get rid of this metal.’

Although he would not specify how much he wanted to see government get for the scrap metal, Mr. McLean indicated it would be a relatively substantial amount.

‘Someone needs to offer me something,’ he said. ‘We’ve spent a lot of public funds securing this scrap metal.’

The closing date for the Invitation to Bid is 24 November.

‘It is expected the work could then be awarded by the first of December and the project would get under way shortly thereafter,’ Mr. McLean said.

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