Government to explore ‘value chain’ of scrap iron industry

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon.
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon.

TRADE and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said Government is looking at the possibilities of improving the domestic scrap iron industry. She made this comment before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved an expenditure of $245,319,640 for the ministry in the 2022/2023 budget.

Responding to a question from Mayaro MP Rushton Paray, Gopee-Scoon said there was an allocation of $600,000 in the budget to look at this matter.

"We intend to use his money to actually do a feasibility study to see what opportunities there are."

Gopee-Scoon said recycling scrap metal could be one such opportunity. She added the idea was to look at the industry's potential beyond grabbing scrap metal and exporting it.

"We want to see what the industry holds in terms of the entire value chain."

Once the feasibility study is done, Gopee-Scoon said, "We will go on to implement the recommendations as well."

She anticipated the need for an online registry for scrap metal.

Paray asked if the online registry could be operational before the current six-month closure of the scrap iron industry ends. Gopee-Scoon replied that it may not be.

She hinted that the feasibility study may be done in three months.

Outside of this, Gopee-Scoon said other steps to improve the industry could happen after the end of the ban.

At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's on July 7, the Prime Minister said he would seek advice from Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, about banning the marketing of used metals.

On July 20, the association met with a Cabinet sub-committee to examine issues related to the theft of scrap iron. Energy Minister Stuart Young chaired that committee. The other members were Armour, Gopee-Scoon and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

Young said the sub-committee had written to other stakeholders and asked them to submit recommendations on how to deal with the theft of scrap iron.

On August 15, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds announced Cabinet's decision to close the industry for six months.

Perpetrators will be liable to a $15,000 fine under the 1904 Metal and Marine Stores Act or a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment of 12 months under the Trade Ordinance.

In the next three months, Attorney General Reginald Armour SC will review the industry and draft a regulatory framework so that by November he could approach Cabinet again with the proposed legislation aimed at monitoring and reducing the illegal trade in scrap iron and metal.

He will also look at regional and international scrap-iron exportation legislation and make recommendations to amend existing regulations.


"Government to explore ‘value chain’ of scrap iron industry"

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