In Malta, an argument has arisen over the installation of a new silo at Laboratory Wharf in Marsa. The cement company, UC Limited, is accused of constructing the silo (located within two metres of a grain conveyor) without having sufficient approvals. UC Limited refutes the accusation, saying clearance was granted by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (Mepa) in October 2012 when it was said the silo would not require any permit since it was considered as a normal port operation. Mepa argues otherwise, though since the cement company completed its first operation on Thursday a legal representative for Mepa reportedly said there was no point in continuing the case.
The silo took an investment of €3 million and has a capacity to store up to 7500 t of cement. One of the contentious issues is its proximity to the grain terminal, which has created fears of contamination. However, UC Limited has reassured the public that the silo is completely sealed and poses no such dangers. Etienne Carabott, the company’s director, has told press that the grain terminal and cement silo cannot operate simultaneously, further reducing any risk of contamination, adding that the grain conveyor is open to the elements whereas cement is transported in a sealed environment.
NGO Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA), has chimed in on the debate, expressing its concern over the handling of this issue: “Irrespective of UC Ltd’s claims, the fact remains that it is operating without a permit in close proximity to the grain conveyor belt, and that no matter how safe UC Ltd may feel their cement silo to be, it is intolerable that such risks are taken with public health in order to benefit private interests.”
Edited from various sources by Katherine Guenioui
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/20012014/cement_terminal_under_fire_in_malta_618/