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CJIA runway extension begins; fossil fuel soil tests to be done

Transport Minister, Robeson Benn and CHEC officials tour the area where CJIA extension work has begun

Even as the extension of the runway for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) continues, government has ordered soil tests be conducted on peat in the area to determine if fossil fuel is available there, the airport said in a statement on Monday.

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), according to the CJIA, is tackling a trial section in the Timehri North area beyond the localizer.  

The project commenced two weeks ago.

Minister of Public Works and Transport, Robeson Benn along with other Ministry and CJIA officials were taken on a site visit on October 31, where CHEC’s Engineers are removing the soft soil (peat) and backfilling the area with sand.

“I know we had some hiccups but I am happy to see works have commenced for this transformational project,” Minister Benn told CHEC technicians. He was apparently referring to some resistance put up by a number of farming resident in the area where the extension work is underway.

When completed the runway will be able to accommodate BOEING 747-400 aircraft, and will be extended from 7,500 feet to 10,800 feet.

Meanwhile, the Minister, a geologist by profession, has instructed engineers to take steps to carry out tests on the soil (peat) found in the area. According to him, peat is produced as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world.

Data has shown that over time, the formation of peat is often the first step in the geological formation of other fossil fuels such as Lignite, which is considered the lowest rank of coal. It is mined in Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, Poland, Serbia, Russia, the United States,  and it is used almost exclusively as a fuel for steam-electric power generation.

Up to 50 percent of Greece’s electricity and 25.7 percent of Germany’s comes from lignite power plants particularly low grade coal such as lignite.