Dec 03, 2008 News
More problems have surfaced at the Skeldon Sugar Factory, as the facility is yet to achieve maximum performance, once again pushing back the commissioning date.
Yesterday, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said that tests are currently ongoing, even as the end of the sugar crop approaches. He told the media that the weather is changing and as such, the tests will have to continue in the new crop.
The tests, he pointed out, are also highlighting some of the ‘teething problems’, which will also have to be rectified between the end of this crop and the beginning of the new crop.
“There are some issues with the Chinese contractors and these issues are engaging the attention of the project management team and the contracting company.”
The Minister added that the issues are of such a nature that the attention of the Chinese Ambassador to Guyana was sought.
According to the Minister, because the issues are of a ‘very sensitive nature’ within the context of legal and contractual arrangements that are currently under perusal, he cannot comment on them.
“We hope that these issues will not affect the factory going forward,” Persaud added.
He, nonetheless, noted that some of the delays that are currently being experienced are due mainly to the performance of the contractors.
On September 15, last, Site Representative Andrew Jin told the media that the trial run showed that there were problems between the punt dumper and the conveyor belt, while, at the same time, difficulties had been encountered with the shredder bearings.
‘Choking’, he had said, was occurring when fresh water was pumped into the diffuser. A similar problem occurred at the second and third evaporators.
Following the discovery of the problems, an assessment was done.
Two days after it was announced that the factory was indeed having technical difficulties, with Minister Persaud indicating that Guyana was examining legal and other options which could be enforced against CNTIC.
The Minister informed that fines could be imposed under the contract signed between Guyana and the Chinese company.
Those fines could exceed US$5M.
President Bharrat Jagdeo also announced that CNTIC would have to take responsibility for all losses and delays suffered at the factory.
Following the official handover of the factory, there are three further 72-hour tests which can be carried out by the owner during the next year.
During that period, the contractor is still responsible for defects arising from those tests, despite the fact that the factory would be in commercial use.
The new factory is expected to produce 110,000 tonnes of sugar annually.
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