Several Canadian mining companies operating in Guyana have pledged to invest tens of millions of US dollars in expansion projects here in the areas of gold mining and renewable energy.
The Finance Ministry in a statement tonight noted that this announcement was made at the just concluded Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention (PDAC) held in Toronto from 4-7 March, 2018 –the premier international event for Canada’s mineral exploration and development industry.
Canadian mining company, Guyana Goldfields Inc., the Finance Ministry said is the largest foreign gold mining company in Guyana.
Scott Caldwell, the company’s Chief Executive Officer spoke of the company’s plans to boost annual gold production to 300,000 ounces by 2022 with the introduction of underground mining.
The Government of Guyana receives eight per cent royalty of all the gold mined.
Caldwell said the company’s on-going expansion augurs well for Guyana, its shareholders and stakeholders, the statement said.
Guyana Goldfields Inc. has spent approximately US$50M in the local economy over the years in the areas of goods and in services such as hauling of freight, engineering, and contract mining.
The Finance Ministry said another company, Sandsprings/ETK which has acquired the Toroparu Gold Project will in the future face a demand for about 35 megawatts of electricity when the operation is up and running and is therefore developing a hydro-electric station known as the Kurupung River Hydroelectric Project (KRHP.
Quoting the company’s CEO, Rich Munson, the statement explained that the station will use run-of-river technology which requires no damming and mindful of Guyana’s interest in hydro-electricity, the company has designed the KRHP to be expanded incrementally from 50 megawatts to 100 megawatts with the aim of supplying external clients.
The Toroparu Gold Project is described as a world class asset with a 10 million-ounce potential gold reserve.
Additionally, Goldsource/Kilroy Mining’s President and Director, Yannis Tsitos indicated at the event that his company has spent more than US$22M in exploration and development in Guyana and intends to eventually produce around one million ounces of gold, averaging between 55,000 and 75,000 ounces a year.
The Goldsource/Kilroy Mining executive, who has a background in bauxite mining, also spoke to investors and other mining operatives about Guyana’s high-quality bauxite which he explained yields about 62 per cent alumina when processed, the Ministry said.
“I would hope that one day Guyana can come out of the loop of being an exporter of raw bauxite by self-producing, and eventually building an alumina or even an aluminum plant,” he urged.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan was the featured speaker at the prestigious event.
During his address, he outlined the Government’s vision and projections for the extractive sector.
He assured the more than 25,000 investors, analysts, mining executives, prospectors, geologists, indigenous peoples, government officials, and students from over 125 countries participating in the Convention that “Guyana’s economy has achieved relatively stable economic growth consistent with the global trends.”
Jordan told the gathering that the country’s fiscal position has remained strong, with growing current account surpluses and an overall deficit (that) has been kept within sustainable levels.
Minister Jordan lauded Guyana’s mining sector as a significant pillar of the country’s economy and the main contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the past three years as well as a major source of Foreign Direct Investment.
He noted though, that while mining in Guyana is successful, it is ‘unable to unleash its full potential’ because it is challenged by the “unavailability of requisite capital to local investors.”
To address this challenge, he said, Government is encouraging local miners to establish linkages with foreign investors to access the necessary financing and technology while at the same time providing fiscal incentives in the form of concessions on machinery, equipment and fuel, and waiver and remission of taxes on motor vehicles, based on the value of gold declaration.
Minister Jordan also underscored that the ‘Guyana Office for Investment is ready and ably equipped to facilitate investors and to help them navigate any bureaucracy and assured that investors are guaranteed the safety of their investment and the ease of doing business.
The Finance Minister in his address announced too, that with the recent discovery of in excess of 3.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the country’s offshore basin, Guyana will be transformed but efforts are ongoing to avoid the ‘oil curse.’
Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons who is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, pointed to Canada’s renowned capabilities in off-shore oil and gas, and acknowledged that Guyana is a key market for Canada.
“In 2016, Guyana became Canada’s largest merchandised trading market within CARICOM because of a significant increase in gold imports to Canada…our government is committed to further strengthening our relationship with our friends and partners in Guyana,” Goldsmith Jones said.
Guyana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Clarissa Riehl and Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee also made brief remarks.
Minister Jordan and the GO-Invest team met with the Premier and Deputy Minister of Natural Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador to discuss opportunities in mining, Oil and Gas and the Natural Resources sector in General, the Finance Ministry said.