It is business as usual at The Maddhapara Granite Mining Company Limited (MGMCL) in Dinajpur when everything is practically stagnant due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown.
Last April, the company sold a record one lakh tonne of stones, with a selling price of over Tk20 crore. The company's stone sales have never crossed 1 lakh before. The highest sales were 80,000 tonnes in a month.
Not only that, the mining company is hoping to benefit from this mine for the third time.
Contracting company German Trust Consortium (GTC) has continued to extract stone from the Madhyapara mine in three shifts to provide high-quality stone for the development of the country.
When the lockdown was imposed to curtail Covid-19 infection, more than 3,000 people and traders directly and indirectly involved in mining and stone transport, feared the mine would close.
Hundreds of workers were in fear of becoming unemployed. But all fears have been allayed when the extraction and sale of stones has remained normal.
The Madhyapara granite mine, the country's only productive stone mine, has achieved its production target despite the Covid-19 outbreak. The record amount of stone extraction by GTC has surpassed previous stone sales records for the month of April.
According to mine sources, 1.60 lakh tonnes of stone are in stock at different yards of the mine.
Due to the huge sales of stone, Madhyapara stone mine will count a profit in the current financial year (2020-2021) for the third time and officials and employees will get a profit bonus like in the last two financial years, hoped people concerned.
200 officials and 750 workers, including locals and foreigners, are working in three shifts at the Madhyapara stone quarry.
The company had set a target of extracting 5,500 tons of stone per day and it is extracting that much stone daily.
Madhyapara Granite Mining Company Limited started commercial production on 25 May 2007. In February 2014, the German Trust Consortium-GTC was awarded the contract for the production and maintenance of the mine for the extraction of 92 lakh tons of stone.
According to mine sources, the Madhyapara stone mine made a profit in the financial year 2018-2019 for the first time since production began in 2007.
The net profit of the mine for this financial year was Tk7.26 crore and it deposited Tk33.02 crore in the government treasury. It extracted 1,067,646.63 tonnes of stone this year. Of this, the company sold 731,493.56 tonnes of stone for Tk1,631,495,000.
In the last 2019-2020 financial year, despite being closed for four and a half months due to the Covid-19 situation, the company extracted 8,23,959.10 tonnes of stone. Including previous reserves, it sold 6,64,906.52 tonnes of stone this year for Tk207,81,37,000. The company deposited Tk22,06,43,000 in the government treasury this year. Besides, it has earned Tk22.40 crore net profit.
Abu Taleb Faraji, general manager of MGMCL, said that last April more than one lakh tons of stone with an estimated value of over Tk20 crore, was sold.
"There is no problem with Covid-19 infection as we are following hygiene rules strictly," he added.
There are 1.60 lakh tons of stone in stock. On average, the company extracts 4,000 tons of stone from the mine every day and sells 5,000 tonnes.
"The mine has been profitable for the last two years and hopefully it will continue like that this year," said the general manager of MGMCL.