Aragonite Value 'Still Unknown'


Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE worth, marketability and sustainability of aragonite is still unknown, Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said yesterday.

While speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Mr Turnquest was asked what the government is doing to generate revenue through natural resources such as aragonite.

"The fact of the matter is we don't know what it's worth," he replied.

"The previous administration had promised to do a study to determine what it's worth in the quantities and all the rest of it."

Mr Turnquest said he had "sight" of a scientific study that was done, which told him what aragonite is and where it generally is found.

"But it doesn't tell me the marketability of it," he added. "It doesn't tell me anything about the value of it, nor does it say about the sustainability of it.

"And so, one of the things that we are going to be doing in this budget, when we talk about the blue economy, is looking at things like aragonite, salt, and all the rest of it, to see what the commodity value is of this product.

"If it is not traded on things like this, Chicago Commodity Exchange, seeing if we can maybe create a market for it.

"If we can't, then we have to make a judgment call analysis to see what in fact the real value is of this resource to ensure that we are pricing it correctly in terms of the royalties that the government gets."

Mr Turnquest said the government has to make sure it understands where the resource is, how it is formed, the sustainability of harvesting it, and the best way to harvest it to avoid damaging the ecosystem.

"We have to make sure that (we've) derived as much value from the resource, either through first stage raw material, or whether we ought to do some processing over here, in second and third stage raw material, where we create more value for ourselves.

"So, this is a research project that needs to happen, not from necessarily a scientific point, because we have some data with respect to the scientific, but we need some more of a commercial analysis of this, to determine what exactly this is in terms of worldwide value, to make sure that we're getting what we get."

Mr Turnquest said a lot of public reaction to this topic has to do with "emotion" rather than fact.

He added that in regard to aragonite, his stance is not that the resource has a low value, but that "we don't have the economic data behind that to determine if it is in fact undervalued".

"And a lot of things, value is determined really by a buyer and seller and market demand and supply," he added.

"And so sometimes you have to create the market for it, so that you drive the price up. Because if it's only one buyer, then it's only worth what the buy is willing to pay for it. So, we have to create a market."

Mr Turnquest added that there are "other things" in the blue economy that can be taken advantage of, such as a yacht registry.

"Maybe we can set up this yacht registry, have these big charter yachts stationed, based in The Bahamas, have people fly to The Bahamas and start their cruising experience from The Bahamas. And derive fees from that."

Mr Turnquest used this is an example of the versatility of the blue economy, which is more than just the "mining aspect," but a potential source of many "commercial opportunities" that the country is not taking advantage of as yet.

"And we intend on doing that this year," he said. "There is money in the budget for us to do that."

During his budget address last month, Mr Turnquest said the government has secured a $500,000 non-reimbursable grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to finance a "three-year technical cooperation project with a particular focus on the digital economy and the blue economy."

The deputy prime minister broadly defined the blue economy as an "economic activity that directly or indirectly uses the sea as an input."

Mr Turnquest said this project would allow the country to move beyond the traditional industries such as fisheries to sectors like marine biotechnology, ocean renewable energy, and deep-sea oil and gas production.


spoitier 3 years, 7 months ago

prices goes up and down with commodities, and with a commodities like arragonite that is found mostly in the Bahamas. You set the Market. First make all deals that benefit only a few null void. Second, create a wealth fund for the Bahamian people. Third, find out what are all the uses for arragonite and which season it is used mostly and that is how we determine the market. Just like any other commodities the market fluctuates, because of supply/demand, we know that construction/concrete is one of the things it is use mostly for, so the summer time is when construction is mostly done in most parts of the world because of snow.


crawfish 3 years, 7 months ago

Please read the following article - especially paragraph 5 - quite telling. Who is Dillingham? And who is their local contact making sure everyting go right?



realitycheck242 3 years, 7 months ago

@Crawfish .....This dredging activity by the Dillingham corporation took place on Ocean cay in the 70's and 80's ....I witness this activity first hand. There were large cranes doing the dredging with mountains of aragonite loaded by conveyor belts to large barges that then left for the united states. The scene is similar to what is taking place in Inagua with the Morton salt company. .The rights to mine aragonite at ocean cay was later sold to another company. there is no aragonite mining activity going on Ocean cay presently.


hrysippus 3 years, 7 months ago

The problem with our aragonite lies in the high cost of transportation relative to the value.


John 3 years, 7 months ago

At rock-bottom price the whole deposit is worth more than $15 billion. An experienced dredging company like Dillingham should be able to suck up 10 million tons a year, which will net the Bahamian government an annual royalty of about $600,000. .

. / Why do Politicians become enemies to the truth once they become elected...?


TalRussell 3 years, 7 months ago

Ma Comrades who are getting ready pay off national debt from vast revenues Imperial red shirts will reap from Aragonite...... But as with most things KP says he goin' do, not a single tangibility have the "PeoplePublic" seen, touched, smelled - going two years out from 10th May 2017... such a disappointment that Freeporters does hopes they've heard and seen last KP's manure droppings... KP sounds more exactly likes former PLP DPM..... Replacing the PLP is turning out one expensive proposition colony islands... and only beginning year two of 5 years mandate. Him credibility thinner than Dollar Store thread..


truetruebahamian 3 years, 7 months ago

The Jones act of 1938 prohibits the import of anything to the U.S. in a non U.S. registered vessel. Unless there is a demand for or an order placed keeping a crew on the cay, keeping machinery in proper repair, power, food, communications etc. available, the costs of production outweigh the return of the product, this being so when aragonite is available in so many places in the world and off the southern U.S. coast. It is also a fact that gold and silver can be extracted from sea water, but the cost of obtaining it being so much more than one can get for it would make its extraction a ridiculously loss heavy enterprise. So many Bahamians have visions of sugar plums and will argue until blue in the face with unsubstantiated points. No one seems to really do their homework before running on with absolutely no factual authority to back up those points and rarely understand the reality of a situation. They continue to merrily dream on.


TalRussell 3 years, 7 months ago

Ma Comrades, are we talking about the same Dillingham company forced into bankruptcy in 2003 as a result of mounting debt. But there's always red shirts hope involve the fat cash OBAN.


sucteeth 3 years, 7 months ago

Aragonite is a very expensive capital investment to mine on a large scale. That is why Ocean Cay couldn't make it. On the other hand we have Boo McCulley from the US who comes in with his barges, tug and excavators doesn't clear customs and uses Artis Neelys and Joe O'briens license to rob our sand. Watch the Utube videos. This has been done many times. He brings sand back to Ft. Pierce and sells it. Lock him up!!


proudloudandfnm 3 years, 7 months ago

I researched it. Looks like no more than 400 bucks a ton.

It aint exactly diamonds or gold. More like sand.

Can we please stop this assinine discussion? Aragonite is not the answer.


proudloudandfnm 3 years, 7 months ago

If aragonite has any real value why did Meyers sell Ocean Cay? If it is as valuable as John Pinder declared why would anyone sell their operation to a cruise line?

John Pinder pulled his "estimate" of aragonite's value out of his ass. When asked to confirm his numbers he couldn't. This whole debate started becaude of his ignorant guessing. Can we please stop the madness???


ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree the answer is in our head and I mean literally


PastorTroy 3 years, 7 months ago

MY fellow right-thinking progressive Bahamians, it's time to legalize CANNABIS in our Bahamaland!! Do not wait until Florida legalizes cannabis for recreational use, because we will have a very big competition that will be sucking more money OUT of the Bahamas! And who look very similar to us that run 'tings' in Miami? THIS IS A NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE!! Legalize cannabis for the very survival of our BAHAMIAN democracy!!! Tax the crap out of it, it will be money COMING INTO the Bahamas, leave the number boys alone, keep sleeping, yall better start learning French, this is not xenophobic, it's the reality of our situation at the moment. Legalizing cannabis also reduces crime, it takes the power out of the hands of violent organizations run by ungodly CONNECTED, FOREIGN individuals. I know, I know it's dope, it's weed, and we have been programmed to believe it was created by satan him/her/itself, WRONG!!! I look into the eyes of many of my Bahamian brothers and sisters and alcohol (which has no medicinal value) is wrecking havoc on their liver and internal organs ALCOHOLISM IS KILLING OUR CITIZENS ON A MASSIVE SCALE,(Ask DOCTOR Minnis) cannabis can LITERALLY heal your family physically, spiritually, mentally, FINANCIALLY, EDUCATIONALLY, it also reduces learned dependency on LEGAL vices like alcohol and cigarettes. Respectfully Hon. Peter T, Taxing us at 12% is assinine as a matter of fact taxing a country of such small population (I know they started it, but yall said it's the people's time, and we DELIVERED!), especially when the money is not used to better our anemic educational and spiritual systems is regressive and amounts to modern day slavery. Let's save our young people from a legal racist system imposed on them for financial gains criminalizing their passions. Let's pay off our national debt to the debt masters (IMF, IDB etc) we are Bahamians dam8! Where is our national pride? let us educate our OWN PEOPLE to consult OUR OWN Government on things that are important to OUR OWN survival; The Commonwealth of OUR Bahamas.


proudloudandfnm 3 years, 7 months ago

Now Cannabis would generate some revenue!


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