Guyana ink deal to reopen Manganese mining at Matthews Ridge
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Major General (rtd) Joe Singh, who is the new Chairman for the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, and Executive Chairman of Reunion Manganese Incorporated, David Fennel, on Thursday evening, signed a mining agreement geared to reopening manganese mining at Matthews Ridge.
The 25-year agreement for the mining operation is deemed to be on a small scale at this time but the Prime Minister said that it is hopeful that enough reserve of the mineral is found to expand operations.
Fennel explained that the company has been in negotiations with the Guyana Government ever since last year and the Prime Minister was skeptical at first but they managed to convince the local officials that the deal is a good thing for both stakeholders.
He said that the company intends to utilize modern technology to extract the mineral and are confident that the venture will see the best days for mining for manganese at Matthews Ridge are still ahead.
The company, in September last year, obtained four prospecting licenses (PLs) to conduct exploration and development activities for manganese in the North West District of Guyana
The PLs cover an area of 45,729 acres and were centered in and around the abandoned manganese mine at Matthews Ridge and Pipiani which was operated by a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation from 1962 to 1968.
The closure of the mine in 1968 was mainly due to the large fall in the price of manganese.
In excess of 1.66 million tonnes of manganese concentrate was shipped from the mine site during that period.
Fennel told media operatives during the signing of the agreements at the Office of the Prime Minister, last evening, that the company will adhere to regulations and intends to be a good corporate citizen.
Hinds, who is currently, also performing the functions of President, during the signing, told media operatives that he has always heard the adage that Guyana abounds with resources but what persons do not realize and appreciate is that extracting those resources takes hard work.
He said that Thursday last was a historic day for mining in Guyana.
He pointed to Aurora Investment which had moments earlier, announced a massive gold exploration programme.
During the 1962 to 1968 mining operations at Matthews Ridge, in excess of 1.66 million tonnes of manganese concentrate were shipped from the mine out of a resource of 2.6 million tonnes of manganese concentrate at the start of the operations in 1962.
By the termination of mining activities in 1968, the known resources base was reported to be approximately 1 million tonnes of recoverable concentrate at 37 per cent Manganese.
This was further increased to 3.6 million tonnes of 33.4 percent manganese recoverable concentrate, based on exploration conducted by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1985, who drilled five additional holes totaling 326 meters.
The GGMC/DPRK exploration effort uncovered additional manganese occurrences, on trend, which have not yet been evaluated.
At Pipiani, which is south of Matthews Ridge and north of the Barama River, the historically calculated resources of available concentrates, based on the mining and beneficiation methods used at Matthews Ridge, were 642,000 tonnes of 42 per cent Manganese on the basis of 35 drill holes, numerous pits and trenches.
No reporting of the lower-grade, bedded material was included in the resources, and many areas were still to be evaluated.