30-year Landbank

The Independent Inspectors have confirmed that Jersey’s landbank of economically winnable reserves in the Draft Bridging Island Plan (DBIP) was substantially wrong due to Ronez’s reserves being understated by 18 years. Jersey has a landbank of more than 30 years with which to meet all of Jersey’s building needs. The DBIP misled policy makers.

The public have been told that there is a shortage of aggregates and that the much-needed new houses and hospital cannot be built without an extension. This is a myth. There is no shortage of aggregates, and the 4300 new homes and hospital will be completed well before La Gigoulande’s reserves are exhausted.

The DBIP stated that in 2020 Jersey’s quarries had 17 years of winnable reserves. The Independent Inspectors confirm that the Island actually had a 35-year landbank at that time. It is difficult to comprehend how an error of this magnitude was included in the DBIP and worrying that the facts were not checked. It is doubly surprising given that the Minister had already acknowledged that there were errors relating to Jersey’s landbank estimate in the current Island Plan which were identified in Senator Kristina Moore’s amendment.

To understand the background behind this error, States’ Members may find the following comments helpful in understanding why the Minerals strategy lacks credibility:

The DBIP stated that Ronez quarry had 12 years of reserves. After private research by resident groups, Ronez confirmed to the Independent Inspectors that Arup had understated their St John’s quarry reserves 18 years despite Ronez previously stating in their BIP submission: 

“The Arup Minerals, Waste and Water Study is a thorough document which accurately reflects the positions and opinions of the Minerals Industry in Jersey”.

Granite Products has stated publicly that there is a further 6 years of winnable reserves which has not been included in the DBIP: 

“Removing the old equipment will provide access to around six years’ mineral reserve which sits beneath it.”

Resident groups found the major error relating to Ronez in an independent geological report of their Jersey and Guernsey quarries. These were in regulatory documents relating to Sigmaroc’s purchase of Ronez in 2016. What is very surprising is that the Minister, his department and Arup were all unaware of its contents. It is not the residents’ job to check the facts. 

Resident groups have constantly asked Granite Products to provide a professional geological survey of La Gigoulande quarry to provide the same independent analysis, but to no avail. In light of the errors with Ronez the public deserve to have that information.

The consequence of this error is that the DBIP concluded that there was not enough aggregate in Jersey and stated that: “an extension is considered to be vital to the island’s construction industry owing to identified pressures arising from the on-going need for supplies of locally sourced primary aggregates to continue to support the community’s development needs”.