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History

THE HISTORY OF THE PITCH LAKE AND THE VILLAGE OF LA BREA.

La Brea is a small community situated in the southwestern part of Trinidad, and lies approximately, 55 miles (88.5km) from Port–of–Spain, and is bordered by the Gulf of Paria. La Brea stands about 85 feet (26m) above sea level, and has a bowl shape. This humble community is the home of the eighth wonder of the world, and the largest of its kind, the PITCH LAKE.

The history of the lake is filled with legends and myths surrounding its existence, two (2) such legends still survive today. The first revolves around CALLIFARIA, the daughter of a tribal chief, and the intervention of PIMLONTAS, the winged Arawak god. The other involves the CHAIMA INDIANS, another tribe which dwelt in the very spot the lake now occupies. The vengeance of the winged god again featured. This time in connection with the COLIBRIA, or what is known today as the HUMMING- BIRD.

While wading in the small pools of water which collect on the surface of the Pitch Lake and musing on the ‘magical healing” powers which the water is said to have, based on its heavy sulphur content – a visitor to the lake may not connect the large, black expanse of pitch – in this remote part of a relatively tiny Caribbean island, with some of the world’s most heavily trafficked highways, international airport runways and bridges in Europe and the United States of America.

The company is fraught with paradoxes. Its headquarters are located in a quiet, peaceful community but its road paving products are applied to major infrastructure projects in some of the most crowded, bustling cities in the world. It is a company steeped in history and tradition, but is the center for some of the most cutting edge asphalt research projects. 90% of its workforce lives in and around the community, while 90% of the revenue from sales of its core product, Trinidad Lake Asphalt (TLA) comes from export.

Trinidad Lake Asphalt (TLA) is the scientific name used to describe asphalt after it has been refined, through an amazingly simple process of heating and sifting out of stones, and other extraneous matter. TLA has become the benchmark of competing road paving materials throughout the world. Trinidad Lake Asphalt exhibits a wider performance range over conventional asphalt cements and offers exceptional resistance to deformation, low thermal sensitivity and great strength under extreme climatic conditions.

In addition to TLA, the company manufacturers a range of bitumen emulsions through a State of the Art Bitumen Emulsion Plant, a line of asphalt based coating – the LASCO range of products and refinery bitumen which it purchases from one of the country’s leading petroleum companies.