An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ESIA project in connection with the impending geothermal exploration is underway.
A Government press release, states that a Barbados-based company has been contracted by the Government of Montserrat to conduct the ESIA over a six-week period.
Director of Public Works in the Ministry of Communications & Works, Ron Beardsley, has confirmed that Atom Solutions Inc, a global energy and technology services provider registered in Barbados, won the contract.
The consultant’s representative is expected on island next week.
Montserrat has been preparing to start exploratory drilling in connection with geothermal development at the base of Richmond Hill within the daytime entry zone.
In the release, Mr. Beardsley explained that “the outcomes from the ESIA would determine whether or not restrictions or mitigation measures would be required to minimize the impact on any endangered flora or fauna , wildlife habitats or water sources. It also looks at potential impacts on the public and residents nearby.
Mister Beardsley, says given the location, the department is not anticipating too many issues. He adds that the impact of ash and acid rain has taken its toll on the area and there are no habitable dwellings nearby.”
The release points out that following the completion and evaluation of the ESIA, the next stage is to appoint a drilling contractor to drill two exploratory production wells.
Drilling tenders were opened on August 31 and are now being considered.
Once a Drilling Contractor is appointed, drilling will begin and will take approximately four months.
Drilling is expected to start at the turn of the new year.
Beardsley says they’ll then test the resource over several months before deciding on the next phase of the project.