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Sand ban from Indonesia not significantly affecting IR construction

By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia
02 February 2007 2041 hrs

SINGAPORE: Indonesia's ban on the supply of land sand will not affect the construction of the two Integrated Resorts significantly according to the two operators, Las Vegas Sands and the Genting International-Star Cruises consortium.

At a presentation on the resorts at the ASEAN Tourism Forum, Genting International has also confirmed that Macau casino mogul, Stanley Ho will not have a stake in the Sentosa IR project.

The government had questioned Genting International, the winning bidder for the Sentosa IR project about its links with Macau's casino billionaire, Stanley Ho, when talk surfaced that he could possibly have an interest in the resort here.

However, all that came to nought when it confirmed on Friday that "Mr Ho will not be having an interest in the Resorts World at Sentosa project."

The next hot question was whether the recent stop in supply of Indonesian sand will disrupt the IR projects.

Genting International says it will work closely with the Building and Construction Authority on this issue and should be ready to break ground in a few months.

Declining an on-camera interview, Genting's Jackson Loy says "the government has made known that there's sufficient stock-pile and therefore, we do not think that it will be an issue."

The Marina Bay Sands IR operator also hopes the sand issue is just a temporary glitch.

"Our supply of concrete resumes in the course of this week, so hopefully, that's behind us now. // We had three or four days of disruption last week, we're just getting back up to speed so I don't think in terms of long term, hopefully in the long term, it won't impact us in terms of costs," said John Downs, Project Director, Marina Bay Sands.

The Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort will hold its ground breaking ceremony next week, and over there at its site, construction is already well-underway.

Next year, the company says construction will focus mainly on work underground. But everything is on schedule for its opening in 2009.

"In terms of construction progress, we've been doing basic enabling work, we've secured the perimeter of the site, we've established a temporary site office down there, we've done some soil investigation works, we've done some test-piling works, and basic management of the site area. We're basically getting ourselves prepared now with temporary utilities to get underway in full swing with permanent construction elements," said Downs.

When asked about a sea wall underground that could pose as a construction challenge at Marina, Mr Downs points out that working on reclaimed land is not easy, but the contractors are dealing with it. - CNA /dt