Paphos concrete manufacturers and quarrying companies once more voiced concerns about their future at a warning protest on Tuesday morning, during which they blocked off a section of the Limassol to Paphos highway with heavy vehicles.

Regional spokesman for concrete manufacturers Christos Athinidorou said raw materials had all but run out in existing quarries, and the situation was especially dire in Androlikou.

“Tons of aggregates are needed and we have nothing,” Athinodorou said, citing large works, planned and underway, such as the breakwaters on Paphos beaches, the expansion of Latsi port and the Polis Chrysochou highway.

Athionodorou accused the state of “empty promises” as evidenced by the expected announcement of an Akamas local plan, which will not include a quarry zone.

“Our agreement with the minister of agriculture was for 150,000 metres to become 300,000 metres so as not to disturb a [species of] bat, then we accepted a further reduction to 200,000 metres so that there is no chance of the bat being disturbed. Unfortunately,” he continued, “we are surprised to see that they have completely abolished the quarry zone.”

Protestors held placards with slogans such as “You’ve been making fun of us for ten years,” and “Paphos left without raw materials.”

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis responded and said the ministry would examine the possibility of setting up a new quarry zone and until further decisions are taken, an application was submitted to exploit a small reserve in Androlikos. Designating it a quarry zone without undertaking any studies would violate relevant European Directives and national legislation, Kadis stated.

The minister added he recognised the need for creating a new quarry zone in Paphos, based on the significant shortages the area is facing in quarrying materials.

President of the concrete manufacturers’ association and the European quarries association Antonis Latouros said efforts towards licensing expansion have been underway since 2007, and have now reached the “eleventh hour”, pointing out that the land area to be granted for quarrying has shrunk three times.

“Last June, we were assured that [quarry licensing] would go into the [local] plan, however, at the end of August [it became known] that the opinion of the environment department basically prohibited a new quarry zone in Androlikou,” he said.

Latouros argued that in Europe, to reduce pollution, the maximum distance aggregates are transported is 50km.

“You won’t see a quarry 100-150km from Paris or Berlin,” he said, while in Cyprus, “they want us to transfer the materials from other districts and not have quarry zones in Paphos.”

Famagusta district manufacturers faces similar prospects, Latouros said.