Asphalt plant concrete in Fiji transportation strategy: Bainimarama

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama welcomed the opening of the Higgins second asphalt plant in Fiji saying it addresses one of the country’s critical needs.

As one of several Pacific nations on the frontlines of the changing climatic conditions, Fiji’s roads are among important infrastructures that have been adversely affected costing the Fijian Government billions of dollars in damage, an issue Bainimarama says will be mitigated via the production of more asphalt, a critical component of long-term road infrastructure development, via the opening of the plant in Laucala Beach’s industrial area today.

“Higher temperatures, more severe cyclones, flooding, and higher storm surges – all affect the reliability and capacity of our transportation systems. Producing a world standard road surfacing product locally is not a luxury for Fiji – it’s a critical need. Stronger, more sustainable roads, built for a rapidly changing climate, are an important way we can mitigate some of the crushing impacts of climate change on our people,” Bainimarama said.

“The Higgins Asphalt Plant will play a very concrete role in the Fiji Roads Authority Transportation Strategy – to make our communities more liveable, our society more connected, and our economy more inclusive.”

The new plant in Laucala Beach, following on their Nadi plant, will support works to upgrade streets and roads in towns and cities, suburban areas across Fiji, and new tar-sealing projects, including the Queens and Kings roads upgrading projects.

It also has the capacity to produce a cold asphalt mix, allowing for it to be transported to any part of Fiji where it can be stored on-site for months.

Bainimarama also lauded the company for its efforts to keep its emissions negligible and for employing alongside international professionals a local labour force that ticks the box in gender parity.

“In addition, through our initial Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Higgins was able to demonstrate that the plant – using Ammann Zero Waste System technology – recycles any waste from its air emissions and redirects it back into the plant. This cutting-edge design ensures the asphalt plant’s contribution to the existing air quality standard, around the Laucala Industrial Area, is negligible. Another important win for our people and planet.

“Higgins – and its parent company, Fletchers – is helping us develop and upskill our local labour force alongside international professionals. This plant has already achieved gender parity in its engineering department, with 50% of its local engineering workforce being women. And, along with its unique placement opportunities for health, safety, environmental and engineering students – this exemplary commitment is helping Fiji grow an internationally competitive, highly skilled industry workforce in real time – while also providing them with employment.”

The plant is one of only three in the world capable of high continuous production of asphalt achieved through expert technicians from Germany, Australia, Brazil, and Switzerland being able to dial in to monitor production quality, identify faults or even run the plant remotely.  

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