November 29, 2014

Linden unrest shuts down Bosai operations

– company says no shipment in two weeks, int’l market in jeopardy

By Svetlana Marshall

Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated (BMGGI) has been unable to fulfil its international obligations in the provision of bauxite to the world market, due to the three weeks of unrest in Linden. This is according to the company’s community relations assistant officer, Vanessa Davis.

A section of Bosai’s operations

Since July 18 when the town was completely shut down as a form of protest against the hike in electricity tariffs, BMGGI was forced to halt its operations.
The last shipment of bauxite was recorded “two weekends ago” Davis said during an interview with Guyana Times International. “The last ship came about two weekends ago and we didn’t even have a full shipment.” Now, she said, it is obvious that there will be no more shipment of bauxite until Linden returns to a state of normalcy. “We ain’t producing nothing, so we can’t ship nothing; in other words, we can’t sell nothing,” she explained.
Davis said that the company is being “hampered” and it is more than likely that millions of dollars will be lost due to the demonstration.
“This is not a normal business where you shop when you need stuff, the company had to market its product for a year and had to sign a contract; so, yes, the market is being hampered.”
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud, in a recent address to the press, said the impact of the shutdown would be worst if the company is unable to pay its more than 600 employees, because it has been unable to conduct business as usual.
He said too that the protests are occurring at a critical moment in the history of Linden shortly after the Chinese-owned company signalled its intention to pump an average of US$ 200 million in investment into the operation, thereby creating 1000 jobs.
“The ministry is alerting Lindeners that they should be aware of the consequences to the mining and socio-economic sectors and the well-being of the mines workers and their families, if the mining community and their supplies are denied access through Linden to the mining districts, and if Bosai is faced with a continuing shutdown of its operations,” the minister had stated.

Investment on hold
Only last month, a company official had told this newspaper that during a special strategic board meeting, the first to be held at Bosai headquarters in Chongqing, China, the company reviewed future investments in light of the world market situation, changes in demand for various grades of bauxite, particularly calcined bauxite, and the restive political climate in Linden where the company has become a focus for opposition protest.
The meeting was attended by Directors Edward Luckhoo, SC; Andrew Forsythe; Horace James; and Norman McLean. The company’s planned US$ 200 million investment for the next three years which is supposed to create another 1000 new jobs and plough another US$ 15 million annually into Linden in wages and benefits to workers was discussed there.