Mining of rare earth metals boosting economy
― 3rd bauxite operation to launch later this year
―established companies with good track records in the sector welcomed
DPI, Guyana, Friday, September 27, 2019
Guyana is fast becoming one of the go-to places for rare earth metals. This was highlighted by Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Raphael Trotman during a recent VOG ‘INSIGHT’ radio programme.
He disclosed that there is a third bauxite company operation underway in Region 3. Traditionally, this was done only in Region 10, in Linden, Kwakwani and Ituni.
“Now we have a mine that is opened in Bonasika that is across the Demerara. You go by boat, up to the Timehri docks and then move across. That’s an Australian company called First Bauxite. They are still in the testing stages of production. We expect to have a formal opening of that mine, later this year.”
Minster Trotman added that the bauxite mined at the Bonasika is regarded as, “the finest quality in the world, so Guyana has scored another first.” The other two bauxite operations are run by Rusal and Bosai.
According to the Natural Resources Minister, Manganese production is expected to begin in Region 1, Barima Waini in 2020 resulting in at least 600 direct jobs for locals. He assured that the Chinese managed consortium is focusing on safety following a setback last year, which saw one Chinese national dying and several others hospitalised. Measures are being put in place to avoid similar reoccurrences and the emphasis will be on safety moving forward.
“Both the EPA and the GGMC would have both given provisional ‘green light to restart preparations. Production will commence next year. It will be 500,000 tonnes per annum, of ore, that is going to be produced.”
Roads, a shipping facility, hotels and other facilities, under construction will see a return to economic prosperity, Minister Trotman further added.
“We are excited to get that done but we decided not to push production and forsake health.”
The minister also revealed that in Monkey Mountain, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has a pilot programme for a lapidary. This has resulted in several Indigenous residents being trained, some in neighbouring Brazil, to set semi-precious stones in jewellery. Former Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin, who is also a celebrated jeweller, also volunteered his time and knowledge to teach residents.
The Natural Resources Minister also disclosed that there are several companies keen to explore the deposits of other rare earth metals including lithium, used for the production of cell phone and batteries for electric vehicle batteries.
He explained, “as the world becomes more technologically driven, more of these rare earth metals are going to be needed to power the devices and precision equipment that is going to be needed. Guyana is known now, not just for oil and gas, but it is being seen as a place that is open for business. People are coming and they are bringing new technologies with them. They are prepared to share and we would like of course for them to come. We are interested in Guyanese, themselves, having the technology transferred to them, in terms of knowledge and of course ensure that they participate in these new industries.”