Sand and Stone

The operation and marketing of sand has been nationalized under the purview of the Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited based on government Executive Order issued on 7th November 2007. NRDCL is also mandated to be engaged in marketing of stone and has exclusive rights to operate stone quarries in forest management units apart from operating quarries in other areas.

Presently, the Corporation is operating sand extraction activities from the riverbeds and land surfaces to meet the demand of the construction industries and rural communities. The stone extraction activities are carried out from riverbeds and land surface under the purview of Surface Collection Guidelines and Forests & Nature Conservation Rules and Regulations issued by the government. The sand and stone are either directly supplied from the quarries as per the demand of the customers or from the stockyards maintained by the Corporation for supply during off season. The sand is supplied at the fixed rate approved by the Natural Resources Pricing Committee (NRPC) formed by the Royal Government, where the stone is supplied based on the cost of extraction after adding minimum handling charge for the Corporation.

The sand is also being supplied with transportation facilities in the high demand areas to control the transportation cost. NRDCL has started the retail sale of sand in Thimphu to meet the demand of small consumers who do not need on truckload basis.

Stone Quarrying                             

Having provided the responsibility of stone supply and the nationalization of sand extraction and supply as the additional mandate of NRDCL issued by the Royal Government vide Executive Order dated 7th November 2007 in addition to its original mandate of timber extraction and supply, the NRDCL Management started applying for quarrying leases with the Ministry of Economic Affairs from September 2008.

Further, with the executive order from the Lhengyel Zhungtshog on 10th May 2010, the NRDCL received directives to open up quarries around the country to supply quality construction material at affordable costs to the construction industry within the country, to ensure its ready availability, and for export to India and Bangladesh to generate additional revenue for the company and the country as a whole. As per the order, NRDCL should be leased with large stone quarries.

As on 15th January 2014 the NRDCL identified 70 potential quarries around the country and applied to Department of Geology and Mines (DGM) for leasing, out of which 46 sites were assessed as unfeasible for further processing because of quality and non-permissible locations. Over a period of 5 years the NRDCL was leased 5 stone quarries by the DGM after fulfilling all necessary mandatory clearances from local community, local government, National Land Commission, Department of Forests & Park Services and National Environment Commission. The other 19 sites are under various stages of stakeholder clearances and detailed feasibility stage.

Out of five leased quarries, three (Homdhar, Tsangkhar & Ngangshing) are under advanced developmental stage and supplies the raw material to the 100 TPH and 30TPH crushing plants. The fourth quarry (Petakarp) is awaiting developmental works and it is earmarked for supply of stones to Wangduephodrang Dzong Reconstruction Project. The developmental work at the fifth quarry (Chimithangka) is stalled due to inferior quality stone, remoteness, high competitiveness and slow-down in construction activities due to freezing of housing loans and rupee shortage.

Based on the regulatory requirements, the quarry operations are under supervision of certified managers who function under the overall supervision of a qualified, competent and highly experienced Mining Engineer stationed at the corporate head office who is also assigned the responsibility to manage the operation of its six crushing plants spread over three NRDCL Regions in the central and eastern part of the country.