Bauxite mining and processing have commenced at Sand Hills in Region Three in a project the government says will inject over US$387 million in the local economy over the next 15 years.
The Bonasika project is one of First Bauxite Corporation (FBX) and becomes the third commercial bauxite operation in Guyana after the Russian owned and operated Rusal and the Chinese-owned Bosai.
The company received approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission for export shipment of up to 40,000 metric tonnes of bulk bauxite material for testing and product development.
It commenced actual mine production in the first quarter of 2018. FBX now mines the high quality, industrial minerals grade Bonasika bauxite deposit in the area.
“This high-grade deposit is unlike any other found anywhere else in the world,” the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.
Annual production is set at 300 metric tonnes.
“To date, Guyanese have benefited from the job creation driven by the project’s execution and continuing expansion.
“FBX currently provides jobs for approximately 238 Guyanese functioning as contracted, permanent, casual, expat and management staff, with over 25 originating from the Sand Hills community,” the Ministry stated.
Further, the Ministry commends the company’s commitment to its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as it has committed a total of US $1.259 million towards the development of the Sand Hills community.
This will aid in the completion of 2019 community projects relating to the construction of a new school building, electricity reticulation to community houses, potable water supply, contribution to the new church building fund along with secondary and university student scholarship assistance.
Also, during the years of the mine’s life (15 years), FBX will stand all costs associated with electricity, potable water, school materials, sports equipment among others.
FBX also initiated a community investment programme in 2016 covering playground development, the installation of solar panels, library work, and placement water tanks and other infrastructure for the local school.
Notwithstanding the fulfilment of their CSR, the company’s projected payments to the Government of Guyana (GoG) will reach well above US $49.77 million over the 15 years.
“This also bodes well with our country since Guyana Manganese Inc.’s US $10.63 million Manganese project at Matthews Ridge is set to commence production in the first half of this year which will see that company paying a total of US $10.8 million per year in taxes to the GoG,” the Ministry of Natural Resources stated.