Months after it closed its operations in Guyana, laid off hundreds of Guyanese workers and began shipping its equipment out of the country, the Russian Aluminum company (RUSAL) is now locked in serious talks with the new People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government on the possible resumption of operations in Region #10.
RUSAL in its talks to return here has asked the government to help fund the extremely expensive task of restarting its operations and rehiring Guyanese.
Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat told media operatives on Monday that RUSAL has asked the government for financial assistance but no formal proposal has been put forward by RUSAL for consideration by Cabinet.
“Based on our talks they signaled their intention that they will need some help but we are waiting on the official document to see how much is needed and what it is needed for,” Bharrat said.
He explained that a part of the assistance will be for the government to help with dredging the Berbice River where the bauxite ore is transported using pantoons to the transshipment point with Oldendorff Carriers.
That company has also pulled out of operations here with Bharrat noting their willingness to return once RUSAL does.
“The truth is if RUSAL is not producing then there is nothing for Oldenorff to do but they have said that if RUSAL goes back into operation they will restart too,” he added.
RUSAL has also signaled that it is interested in concessions for retooling and recapitalization.
Government is waiting on their proposal before it says what help it will be able to offer.
Bharrat said the government wants to resolve the matter as fast as possible so that people can go back to work.
RUSAL owns 90% of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) while the other 10% belongs to the Government.
The Russian company shared a rocky relationship with the previous APNU+AFC Government and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU) leading to the shutdown of operations on February 3 and laying off of 326 workers from its Aroaima mine site.