Massive regional summit to be held here; aluminium plant possible for Berbice

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A massive regional summit featuring the leaders of Guyana, Brazil, Suriname and French Guiana is scheduled for January and it is expected that the countries may agree on a framework for energy cooperation.

This was announced by President Dr. Irfaan Ali when he spoke to residents of Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne) on Friday afternoon.

According to him, Region Six is well-positioned to connect Guyana with opportunities along the Guiana Shield. This Shield is a natural formation comprising French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, and parts of Colombia and Brazil.

And to advance cooperation with Suriname, Brazil and Suriname, the President highlighted that a summit will be hosted in January.

Importantly, he said that the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will be part of that summit.

Earlier in the day, his address to the 59th Summit of South American trade bloc MERCOSUR, Dr. Ali explained that the development of a Corentyne frontier, the logistical importance of a deepwater harbour and the energy corridor will be part of the talks at the summit.

“Along with Brazil and Suriname, we hope to leverage our energy resources for energy security, agriculture and food security and to potentiate growth and development opportunities in the northern flank of South America,” the President said.

Later in the day, in Berbice, he pointed out that Guyana and Suriname will be exploring a joint gas strategy- building upon both countries’ discovery of oil and gas resources offshore.

Guyana’s electricity demand will triple in the next five years and the government is looking to meet the challenge, not by burning more diesel and heavy oil, but through natural gas produced offshore and hydropower. The use of alternative forms of energy is expected to cut Guyana’s electricity bill by about half.

“The gas is not only linked to the production of power or energy,” President Ali said.

He reminded the residents that there are massive bauxite deposits in Region Six and across the Corentyne River in Suriname.

“With cheaper electricity and the combination of the bauxite on the other side of the Corentyne river, it makes the economic viability of a smelter possible and not only possible but financially viable,” he explained.

And further, he reasoned that a smelter then needs an aluminium plant which would convert the produced bauxite into aluminium for use.

Those two developments would then provide constant work to the deepwater port that is being constructed at the mouth of the Berbice river, the President pointed out.

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