UK company eyes construction of ‘basalt fiber’ plant in Guyana


UK-based company Woollard and Henry believes that Guyana has the potential to become a major player in the basalt fiber market and so, it has its eyes set on the construction of a plant somewhere along the Linden Soesdyke Highway.

Basalt fiber comes from the extremely fine fibers of basalt, a mineral composed of plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine. It is said to be similar to fiberglass, having better physicomechanical properties than fiberglass, but being significantly cheaper than carbon fiber.

Just recently, Sales Director of the UK company, Stuart Robertson and Commercial Director, Tapio Korhonen were a part of a Trade Delegation Mission visiting Guyana to scope out potential investment areas.

And after a few visits on the ground, Roberston believes Guyana has an advantage in the basalt market, as the raw materials can be “easily mined here.”

“There are some deposits already in Guyana and we will be conducting some analysis on those soon as well.”

Robertson explained to the News Room that the fiber can be converted into other uses, more specifically, to make concrete for construction but with added benefits.

What raw basalt looks like.

“You get no corrosion as opposed to steel and you can also use much less concrete when you do your designs because you do not need to embed the steel…you do not need to do that with the basalt so you are minimizing the concrete usages.”

Basalt is also especially relevant here in Guyana, the Sales Director said, noting that the material does not corrode like steel and can be used in the construction of the sea defence and ports.

“The anti-corrosiveness of this makes it very, very good for Guyana’s future development needs,” Robertson told the News Room.

“We do see a lot of opportunity for the basalt plant here and it is very relevant for the country’s infrastructure needs and we think this would be really beneficial.”

Robertson believes that it can be developed into another export market for Guyana as the raw material is also used in the aerospace industry among others.

“You can very well end up with products that are non-oil and gas related,” he said.

Meanwhile, Commercial Director Korhonen shared too that once the plant is up and running, jobs will be provided for over 200 Guyanese with all local materials expected to be used in construction.

Korhonen explained that the plant would not require much basalt to run, a maximum of 5,000 tons of fiber can be made from only 500-600 tons of basalt rock.

“It is not like a big opencast mining either, it is environmentally friendly as well,” he added.

Both company representatives have held talks with the government and private sector and a return trip is expected by the end of the mid-quarter to pinpoint the exact location of the plant.

Woollard and Henry coins itself as an international supplier of quality equipment and solutions across multiple sectors, established in 1873.

On its website, W&H said it has grown from its roots, manufacturing and servicing Dandy equipment for the Paper sector and now delivers engineering services and solutions across the Energy, Wastewater, Glass/Basalt fiber and now Aerospace sectors, delivering everything from small components to installing full production lines.

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