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|RUSAL moving ahead with expansion -Natural Resources Minister assures of enabling environment for investment|
|Friday, 10 August 2012 22:53|
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.
Minister Persaud was accompanied by RUSAL’s General Manager, Ruslan Volokhov, along with other officials from the company, and representatives of both the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). On the evening prior to the visit on Thursday, Minister Persaud was engaged in two separate meetings in Kwakwani.
The minister said the 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.
Minister Persaud also said that the visit to RUSAL was in keeping with the renewed focus of the GGMC, as the Commission is seeking to engage and work more closely with the players in the bauxite industry, now that a bauxite Development Unit has been established.
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,” Minister 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 from which residents and the community can benefit.
Prior to the visit, Minister Persaud had engaged RUSAL’s executive in private on some concerns raised at the 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 matters 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.
To encourage this expansion, government would have already made available mining blocks to the company.
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 1000 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.
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