Retention of the status quo regarding the exportation of Maltese stone

Date : 2000
Client : Ministry for Economic Services, Malta


The purpose of this study was to conduct an assessment of the impact of compliance on the export of Maltese stone, and to put forward arguments as to how Malta may build a case for consideration by the European Commission of the retention of the status quo regarding its exportation. In drafting this note the following entities had to be consulted: the Environment Protection Department, Planning Authority, Department of Industry, Malta Development Corporation, Federation of Industry, Chamber of Commerce and the Building Industry Consultative Council.


In 2000, Malta was in the process of formulating its National Plan for the Adoption of the Acquis Communautaire of the European Union. This process concerned a number of products, one of which was Malta stone, a sector which in the opinion of the Government of Malta, required significant restructuring and/or major considerations to be addressed before complying.

The industrial minerals of the Maltese archipelago are Oligocene and Miocene shallow water carbonates. They comprise limestone, clays, sandstone and phosphates. Only limestone is of any economic value. Economic mineral deposits occur in three formations: Upper Coralline Limestone, Lower Coralline Limestone and Lower Globigerina Limestone. The first two are referred to in the mineral extraction industry as hardstone while the last one is referred to as softstone. Softstone is quarried from the south of Malta and northwest of Gozo mainly for use as dimension stone. Hardstone is quarried in central and western Malta and north-eastern Gozo mainly for use as aggregate for infrastructure sub-bases and concrete manufacture. Occasionally, it is worked into dimension stone, especially the Gozo variety.

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