US$9.5M in­vest­ment, 500 jobs pro­jected from new op­er­a­tions in former Barama con­ces­sions

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

The Guyana Forestry Com­mis­sion (GFC) has awarded two lots to­tal­ing over 800,000 hectares of the former Barama Com­pany Lim­ited con­ces­sion to two com­pa­nies, R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill and Chi­nese com­pany Rong-An Inc, which is ex­pected to yield a to­tal in­vest­ment of US$9.5 mil­lion by 2020 and the cre­ation of 524 jobs when the op­er­a­tions are at full scale.

The an­nounce­ment was made yes­ter­day by the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, which also said that the op­er­a­tions would see an in­crease of na­tional pro­duc­tion level by at least 189,000 m3 an­nu­ally, an in­crease in ex­port rev­enue by at least US$7 mil­lion, and an in­crease in har­vest­ing of Lesser Used Species from the cur­rent 10 to 15 per­cent to at least 25 per­cent of to­tal pro­duc­tion.

In Oc­to­ber last year, Barama an­nounced that it was not seek­ing a re­newal of its 25-year con­ces­sion with the gov­ern­ment. Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Raphael Trot­man sub­se­quently an­nounced that the huge forestry con­ces­sion, lo­cated in the north west of Guyana, had been quar­tered, with one por­tion set aside for con­ser­va­tion and an­other for small log­gers in­ter­ested in pur­su­ing sus­tain­able log­ging ac­tiv­i­ties.

The re­main­ing two por­tions—Par­cel 1 and Par­cel 2—were ad­ver­tised for State For­est Ex­ploratory Per­mits (SFEP), which en­tails a three-year as­sess­ment process prior to com­mer­cial full scale har­vest­ing.

Par­cel 1 is a for­est area of size 417,809.23 hectares and Par­cel 2 is a for­est area of size 432,262.59 hectares. They are lo­cated in the Esse­quibo re­gion (North West, Mazaruni Po­taro District) and they are both said to have a high oc­cur­rence of a num­ber of high-value com­mer­cial tim­ber species, in­clud­ing Baro­ma­lli, Green­heart, Pur­ple­heart, Mora, Wal­laba, Crab­wood and Kabukalli, among oth­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued by the min­istry yes­ter­day, both parcels were opened for Ex­pres­sions of In­ter­est for the pe­riod end­ing Fe­bru­ary 10, 2017, with ad­ver­tise­ments placed in the lo­cal me­dia as well as in the in­ter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tions De­vel­op­ment Busi­ness and The Economist as well as on sev­eral web­sites.

It fur­ther noted that ten sub­mis­sions were made at this dead­line, some for both parcels while oth­ers were for one or the other.

These firms were in­vited to sub­mit SFEP ap­pli­ca­tions, pay the non-re­fund­able fee, and com­plete a Busi­ness Plan Sum­mary by April 28, 2017. At this dead­line, five ap­pli­ca­tions were re­ceived from the fol­low­ing en­ti­ties: Chemtech (Trinida­dian firm) for Par­cel 1; R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill for Par­cel 2; Rong-An Inc. for both Parcels 1 and 2; For­lene and Sons for Par­cel 2; and ACE Re­sources (Cana­dian firm) for both parcels.

The Tech­ni­cal Sub Com­mit­tee of the GFC Board of Di­rec­tors, the state­ment ex­plained, con­ducted a full re­view of each ap­pli­ca­tion and con­cluded that Par­cel 1 should be is­sued to Rong-An Inc., and Par­cel 2 to R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill for a three-year pe­riod com­menc­ing July, 2017 to July, 2020.

This de­ci­sion was ap­proved by the full Board and has been im­ple­mented by the GFC.

“It is ex­pected that the award­ing of the two parcels will re­sult in ben­e­fits to the forestry sec­tor over the course of the full op­er­a­tional­iz­ing of the uti­liza­tion/har­vest­ing plan for the con­ces­sion. These in­clude a to­tal in­vest­ment of US$9.5 mil­lion by 2020, a to­tal of 524 new jobs when the op­er­a­tions are at full scale…,” the state­ment said. “The Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources con­grat­u­lates R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill and RongAn Inc. for suc­cess­fully com­pet­ing for the con­ces­sions. Fur­ther, the Min­istry urges that they carry out their op­er­a­tions in a man­ner that is com­pli­ant with the GFC Code of Prac­tice and other laws and reg­u­la­tions, re­spect­ful of the en­vi­ron­ment and ben­e­fi­cial to the Peo­ple of Guyana,” it added.

Barama had an­nounced last year that it was not in­ter­ested in re­new­ing its 25-year agree­ment with the gov­ern­ment and as such 500 work­ers have since been re­trenched.

Rong-An Inc, which was in­cor­po­rated in Guyana on Septem­ber 1, 2006, had ap­plied last year to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency for en­vi­ron­men­tal au­tho­ri­sa­tion to un­der­take large-scale log­ging in Ber­bice in an in­vest­ment pegged at US$20 mil­lion. It had planned to in­vest more than US$50 mil­lion in Guyana in var­i­ous sec­tors, in­clud­ing an ini­tial US$20 mil­lion in the forestry sec­tor.

The com­pany had re­ceived a SFEP from the GFC des­ig­nated 2/2011 for an area of 57,929 hectares of for­est re­sources in the up­per right bank Ber­bice River.

Both Rong-An Inc and fel­low Chi­nese com­pany, Bais­han­lin have been the source of much con­tro­versy over their forestry op­er­a­tions here.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.