By Mikaila Prince
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – In this presentation on budget 2022, senior minister in the office of the president with responsibility for finance Dr Ashni Singh announced that the first shipment of manganese from Port Kaituma, Region One, is slated for March 2022.
In his Wednesday presentation, the finance minister stated that a manganese operation in Matthews Ridge has been granted its environmental permit and mining licence, along with the approval of the mine plan.
The project investment is pegged at US$75 million, and the annual production and shipment of manganese ore concentrates is targeted at 500,000 metric tonnes annually,” he said.
Manganese is used to make clear glass, to desulfurise and deoxidise steel in steel production and to reduce the octane rating in gasoline. It also is used as a black-brown pigment in paint and as filler in dry cell batteries. Its alloys help stiffen the aluminum in soft-drink cans.
On the side of the non-oil extractive sectors – namely gold, bauxite, sand, stone, and other minerals – Dr Singh highlighted that these will be major contributors to Guyana’s economy going forward.
“Our government recognises the critical role of the mining sector in the economy and will continue to invest in and promote the expansion of the sector, remaining mindful of the challenges and vulnerabilities as illustrated during the 2021 floods when operating sites and access roads were inundated and rendered impassable for an extended time,” he outlined.
At a strategic level, he said, more focus on deriving efficiency from the mineral recovery phase of the small and medium-scale mines can also help to promote sustainability in this sector. The Senior Minister relayed too, that significant growth can be expected from the subsector in 2022, with gold declaration envisaged to continue to be dominated by small and medium-scale producers operating 1,054 small-scale mines and 25 medium-scale mines.
As it relates to bauxite mining in Guyana, minister Singh recalled that one major producer was lost in 2020 as a result of the hostile investment environment. As a further consequence, bauxite mining continued with only two major operators. He was quick to report, however, that under this government, companies have inked their interest to expand this sector.
“The larger of the two operating in Linden has in place plans to expand investment in 2022 with an estimated outlay of US$16 million on capital investments. These include the construction of a third kiln and procurement of other heavy-duty equipment to improve the scale and efficiency of their mining operations.
This third kiln is rated to have a throughput of 650 metric tonnes of bauxite per day and will increase the plant’s installed production capacity by 65 percent, with operation expected to begin in the latter half of 2022. Government is committed to continue the exploration of opportunities for another large-scale investor to fill the void created in 2020,” the finance minister outlined.
As it relates to sand and stone mining, minister Singh indicated that attention will be focused on ensuring the beneficial occupation of sand-bearing properties along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. This will play a hand in offsetting the demands caused as a result of Guyana’s construction boom.
And finally, on quarry production, most of the new quarries are anticipated to come on stream by the end of 2022. This comes on the heels of 11 quarry licences issued to new applicants, covering 30,737 acres with each having a productive capacity of 150,000-200,000 metric tonnes per year.