GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- The Russian-owned bauxite company Guyana Inc., (RUSAL) is moving ahead with its plan to expand its scope of operations in Guyana and, on Thursday, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud inspected the company's operations in Aroaima, Region 10.
Persaud was accompanied by RUSAL officials including its general manager, Ruslan Volokhov and, representatives of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
The minister said his visit was intended for him to have a firsthand view of RUSAL’s operations.
“It is always good to come on the ground and see what's happening and ensure the company sticks with both its investment and its mining plans," he said.
Persaud also said that the visit to RUSAL was in keeping with the renewed focus of the GGMC whereby a Bauxite Development Unit has been established and the Commission is seeking to engage and work more closely with the players in the bauxite industry.
Such an engagement, he said, can only allow for cooperation to daunt any challenges the company may have.
“Looking around RUSAL’s operation, I can say it’s fairly developed, I can see them cutting new roads, looking at new areas all with the aim of meeting the 1.8 million tonnes bauxite from this location… RUSAL’s operations have been moving smoothly and fairly along and we will continue to work with the company,” Persaud said, when asked to comment on what he saw.
RUSAL has been operating in the Region 10 community since 2007 after sealing an agreement with the government of Guyana.
The company’s operations have regularised and strengthened bauxite operations in the district and created opportunities for residents and the community to benefit.
Prior to the visit, Persaud engaged RUSAL’s executive in private on some concerns raised at a community meeting in Kwakwani that centred on the company’s relationship with the residents.
“We have been discussing those concerns and we intend to have mechanisms between the community and company to have those matter dealt with,” he said.
“The aim is to foster greater dialogue and greater interaction as any company should do with neighbouring communities, with both sides understanding what the issues are,” he added.
He said the company has given the assurance that it will undertake to look at ways through which it can improve its services in the community.
“I see that willingness but, we have to improve on that mechanism and the form of communication between the community and the company,” he said.
Volokhov was pleased with the Minister’s visit, stating that RUSAL is developing and, has some major strategic strategies that if implemented successfully will realise an annual production of five million tonnes of bauxite annually.
Recently RUSAL brought in a fleet of equipment to bolster its operation and its plans for expansion. As such, the company will soon be mining in two new blocks – Kurubuka 22 and Korite Block 38 -- which have a combined deposit of close to 80 million tonnes. The company anticipates that production will peak to five million tonnes. About 1,000 persons are employed directly or indirectly resulting from the company’s operations.
Volokhov said that the company continues to cultivate its relationship with the community and has been offering support wherever it can.
RUSAL, in Kwakwani has sponsored five students from the community to study geology in Russia and also offers onsite training of its operators.
The company will soon be handing out computers to the community.
Government has a 10 percent share in RUSAL, which has been producing annually over 2.2 million tonnes of bauxite.