Junk metal shipped overseas

Thousands of tons of scrap metal from the George Town landfill site are being loaded on to barges to be shipped out of the Cayman Islands and sold overseas. 

The scrap materials, including thousands of crushed cars, fuel tanks and construction debris, are being hauled by local company Cardinal D, which won the contract last year. 

The firm already shipped around 6,000 tons of metal off island, some of which was destined to be sold in China, after being awarded a previous contract in 2011 

The latest shipment, estimated at around 6,000 tons, is part of a wider effort by government to sell off the mountains of recyclable junk at the landfill site. 

The government is also looking for a buyer to get rid of up to two million tires currently piled up at the site.  

Dr. Maysson Sallam, assistant director at the Department of Environmental Health, said the last scrap metal shipment was worth $500,000 to government.  

She accepted the tires did not have the same commercial worth as scrap metal, but said they still had value and she was hopeful the tender would find a buyer. 

Government has not said precisely what its plans are for the dump, though Minister Osbourne Bodden has indicated a request for proposals on waste management will go out in the coming months. 

In the meantime, the Department of Environmental Health continues to try to manage the site and sell off some of the more valuable waste to help fund its operations. 

Dr. Sallam said Cardinal D had been on site baling the scrap metal, including junk cars and containers, for several months. The baled metal was loaded on to trucks and transported to the dock this week, with the barge scheduled to leave for Tampa, Florida, on Friday.  

A second barge will leave later in the year, once the remaining metal at the dump has been excavated and baled. The ultimate aim is to remove all scrap metal from the site. 

Cardinal D agreed to pay $50-a-ton for the materials. According to tender documents issued in April last year for the scrap metal disposal project, the private company is responsible for all costs of loading and transporting the scrap metal. 

The document states, “The project involves the purchase, on-site processing and removal of all remaining scrap metals from the George Town landfill site in an efficient and timely manner.” 

The project also includes the removal of scrap metal from the dumps on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. 

Attempts to remove scrap metal from the George Town Landfill, known locally as Mount Trashmore, has been an ongoing issue since 2007 when a joint Caymanian-Canadian company, Matrix, signed a $1.25 million contract to get rid of the metal rubbish. It ultimately paid a quarter of that sum to the government for the scrap metal and removed some 6,500 tons. Its contract was canceled in September 2007. 

The scrap materials, including thousands of crushed cars, fuel tanks and construction debris, are being hauled by local company Cardinal D, which won the contract last year. 

Scrap metal barge_np

Scrap metal from the George Town landfill awaits transfer off island. – PHOTO: CHRIS COURT

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  1. Well done, this is a great step forward.
    If we consider that scrap is selling around the $200 a ton in the US, the government is "paying" $150 to get it off island.
    The tyres on the other hand are probably worth more like $50 a ton so it is likely that the government will have to pay in the order of $100 per ton to have them removed.
    But remember that there is already a 2 buck per tyre charge when they are imported – on average 95 tyres to the ton – so the government has already been paid by the consumers to dispose of the tyres to the tune of 190, so provided that is remembered in the math, it is still cost effective overall.
    What has happened in the past is that the "disposal" fees already paid, haven’t been factored in – making things look like they are uneconomic when actually they’re cost effective.
    With 2 million tyres, there is a $4 million fund to be used towards the disposal.