Batavia village in Region Seven will experience tremendous development as the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs facilitated a US$20 million quarrying project that will be undertaken by a private company – EKAA HRIM Earth Resource Management Inc.
Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai signed a 15-year agreement with the Batavia Village Council and representatives of EKAA HRIM Earth Resource Management Inc to formalise the project.
Under this agreement, 1,089 acres of land will be leased to the company; 13 acres will be used for mining while the remaining will be a buffer zone.
“They have addressed the lease fees and they are satisfied that they will get the market rate, they have agreed to that and incrementally, the buffer zone will have a different rental fee but incrementally it will be increased over the 15 years.
“They have also agreed that their tribute as specified by law under the Amerindian Act that the village will have and have agreed for the tribute to be paid by the company to them and this is the tribute based on production,” Minister Sukhai informed media operatives on Friday.
The Amerindian Affairs Minister added that this investment will play an important role as government is rolling out a massive infrastructure agenda.
“For the Amerindians it’s another step whereby they are contributing to the overall development of our country and I am sure they are pleased just as well as I am, that we can together, as partners address this matter and to be part and parcel of national development,” Minister Sukhai stated.
Forty per cent of the labour workforce will be sourced from the village creating hundreds of jobs for locals, director of the company, Jesvin Pradee Kumar noted.
This ties in with the government’s commitment of providing 50,000 jobs during its first five years.
Meanwhile, Toshao of Batavia, Orin Williams expressed elation that a project of this magnitude is being undertaken in the community.
“This is a very good opportunity for us to improve the lives of our residents in the village and we have seen this project as a project that will change a lot of things for the lives of our people. So, I am very much happy to be the Toshao that can actually experience this historical moment,” he expressed.
Construction will commence sometime in 2023 and the ministry will have oversight to ensure transparency and accountability. (Department of Public Information)