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SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 21) – The Department of Public Lands is creating moves to stir interest in Pagan's pozzolan.

[PIR editor’s note: Pozzolan is a material found in and around volcanic areas in the form of ash, and is used to increase strength and extend the life concrete products.]

DPL Secretary John S. Del Rosario Jr. announced yesterday that the two-part report on Pagan is now available on the department's website:

"This is to avail such report to interested cement manufacturing companies. DPL is also sending manufacturing companies a heads up on these reports in hopes to hear from major manufacturers," said Del Rosario.

DPL is taking these actions amid uncertainty about Pagan mining rights. It remains unclear whether JG Sablan Rock Quarry has the right to extract pozzolan Pagan.

JG Sablan's permit was terminated last year because the company failed to conduct any mining operations since getting its permit in 1995. Subsequently, the Legislature passed a law directing DPL to reinstate the permit.

The Superior Court recently ruled this provision as unconstitutional, but left up in the air some other issues surrounding the validity of the permit.

Prepared by DPL consultant John Wilson, the Pagan report states that only 11.9 million metric tons of pozzolan remains available on Pagan. This is much lower than previous estimates, which ranged between 32 million and 200 million metric tons.

Wilson's report said the laboratory tests confirmed that the quality of the pozzolan on Pagan meets the minimum requirements for natural pozzolan.

Several reports on pozzolan have been issued over the past two decades.

In 1984, a USGS report estimated about 71.4 million tons using the density figure for basalt.

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