Amerindian Affairs Ministry inks two contracts to boost community development

Scores of Malali residents will soon be gainfully employed in the quarrying industry. This follows the signing of a lease and addendum to mining agreements between the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, and the Malali Quarry Inc and the Malali Village Council, on Friday.

Following the signing, Minister, Pauline Sukhai, MP, commended the village council for attaining such an investment, which she said will boost the community’s economy activity.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP

She urged village leaders to assess the level of resources in their village and examine the best options to utilise them, as well as find investors willing to invest in the community.

This approach, she said, will lessen the dependency that exists in small hinterland villages. 

“This agreement is a progressive step in the interest of the people of Malali Village Council…in this case, we are very pleased that the village council stepped up to addressing investments, stepped up in addressing the need to create employment opportunities and of course, that will, in the long run, benefit the opportunities for job creation and increase the income of the people of that village,” the minister told those present at the signing ceremony.

According to the agreement, villagers will mine 1,400 acres of land over 25 years.

Minister Sukhai pointed out that per the agreement, the tribute is payable to the village to the sum of $7,400 per acre per month for the extraction of zone lands within the mining area. This includes the establishment of a wharf and ‘which shall include for the first five years of this agreement, 20 acres with an additional inclusion of 20 acres every five years during the term of this agreement.”

It was noted that from the date of the agreement, the tribute is payable at USD $2 per acre per month for eight months and then USD $3 per acre for the following four months, after which the sum of USD $3 per acre per month will be paid. This will allow for an annual added increase of 5 per cent per annum for the remaining acreage of the mining lands referred to as the ‘Safety Zone’. It will include 1,380 acres in the first five years of the agreement.

“The village councils are the priority when it comes to activities like this, and so we ensure that they are party to any agreement that will benefit from the process. The law specifies that the Amerindian villages … mining in their lands benefit from a minimum of no less than 7 per cent. This is not only for gold, but any mining operation for any material that is located within their community.”

She added that the tributes “the two parties have worked out is fair and reasonable rates following a few negotiating meetings and examination of the market rate that exists and I believe that it is comfortable at this point, with this fair level of tributes and royalties in keeping with the Amerindian Act relating to the market rate and minimum range.”

In 2021, the Malali Quarry Inc., expressed interest in investing some $3.3 billion (US$16 million) into its Tigerhill quarry project which covers about 1,400 acres or 135 kilometers.

Meanwhile, a contract was also signed between Hururu Village Council and Businessman Ameer Bacchus, for Bacchus to access the village’s log pond.

The three-year contract allows Bacchus to use the log pond to store and export lumber from the village and his concession per the Amerindian Act.

Hururu and Malali are both titled communities. The projects will help the communities to broaden their economic prospects.