Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It’s Boring in Fujairah but Sometimes It’s a Blast

My first venture into Construction Week Online revealed some interesting details and observations about Fujairah.

An article by Greg Whitaker takes a penetrating look at the quarrying that goes on in Fujairah’s Hajar Mountains.

If you think this is a boring article, you might be right but it drills down deeply into the core of this eastern emirate.

The UAE ‘Bread Basket’
Whitaker says: “The Emirate of Fujairah continues to be the region’s ‘bread basket’ for construction projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And, with many neighbouring Gulf countries banning quarry operations, its gabbro – based aggregates and rock armour for breakwaters are equally in high demand.”

It is good to mine this analogy for all its worth. The sparkling skyscrapers of the larger cities in the Emirates are what often creates the ‘Wow’ factor, not the foundations upon which they stand. Shunning the limelight, Fujairah provides the sturdy substance to make the glitzy towers stand upright on the desert sands. This image from the quarry is getting to the bedrock of the emirate’s stolid identity.

Hard Facts about the Hajars
Arabs have known for centuries the quality of the rocks they possessed long before geologists came with their fancy terminology. Hajar or Hajjar in Arabic means stone mountains (جبال الحجر).

Greg Whitaker’s article offers depth on these substantial issues:
* The type of rock—gabbro, one of the world’s hardest rocks.
* Blasting and how it is strictly regulated in Al Fujairah.
* The blasting procedures.
* The number of quarries.
* The drills, drill rigs and other rock tools.

Final Blast
The article asks what is on everyone’s mind: “Is it is better for everybody associated with a quarry to have 2-3 smaller blasts a day or a single major blast.”

This detailed report plumbs the depths to reveal the secrets of one of the major industries that provide the foundation for Fujairah’s life and economy.

Greg Whitaker, UAE’s Technical Drilling and Blasting Co Standardise on Special New Rock Tools, Construction Week Online, 10 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A close up of gabbro rock.

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