Nov 26, 2016 News
History was created in Linden yesterday as the local bauxite industry unveiled its multimillion- dollar arch on Casaurina Drive.
The arch, which cost some $20 plus million, is a gift from Bosai Minerals Group, in observance of the 100th year of bauxite mining in Linden.
The structure, apart from being beautiful is considered educational, as important historical facts and the names of prominent Lindeners, such as those of past Mayors, are inscribed.
Chairman of the Centenary Committee Horace James said that as time progresses more historical information will be added, including the names of prominent sports personalities.
President David Granger, who was on hand for the auspicious occasion, delivered the feature address and also unveiled the arch.
He told the gathering that the celebration of the centenary observance of the bauxite industry was a happy and historic occasion. He added that the preparations for the event testified to the labour of generations to the importance of the industry and the significance of Linden – the nursery of the Bauxite industry.
“Linden has been called a mining town because of the route – the bauxite industry, the name of this tri-junction point as we’ve been told – Wismar, Mackenzie and Watooka – tells the story of the circumstances which brought together people from the North American, South American and European continents – and today we have people from another continent – East Asian entrepreneurs, who now operate the industry – so perhaps we should have a quadrilateral bringing people together from four continents right here in Linden.
The president called the arch a “magnificent’ structure, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of bauxite mining.
Granger said that the social impact of the industry has contributed to enriching Guyana’s cultural life, and its contributions to Guyanese society is impossible to calculate.
He told the story of how the population of the community, which was later amalgated as Linden, ‘swelled’ as mining intensified.
“Persons came from all over the coastland, from the islands of the Caribbean, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago in search of regular employment and higher wages offered by the bauxite industry. So when you go there you can tell them where their foreparents came to look for money and employment.”
The President spoke of the thousands of jobs that were created for both Guyanese and West Indians, and said that it was noteworthy that by 1960 only 38 percent of the population of the community comprised persons that were actually born here – the rest were migrants from the “coast” and the Caribbean.
He noted that the industry made other contributions to nation building, such as training highly skilled and competent chemists, engineers and industrial workers.
“The nation knows for example that hundreds of persons were recruited from the ranks of employees and former employees of the bauxite industry to develop what we now know as the gold mining industry, which has become the most lucrative mining industry in Guyana. Many of the operators in the gold mining industry are actually graduates of the University of Bauxite!”
He spoke of the connectivity though the region which has made Linden a geographical and social hub, and expressed the hope that very soon Linden could become an economic hub and powerhouse.
The President said that the Bauxite industry has been one of the traditional mainstays of the economy for a hundred years. He alluded to the production of the ore which increased rapidly during the Second World War, noting that bauxite from Guyana contributed to the manufacture of aluminium which went into the building of aircraft.
The United States, the President declared, imported 30,000 tonnes of bauxite ore in 1939 before the war started, and by the time the war got going, Guyana had exported 390,000 tonnes annually. Thus Guyana became the second largest producer of bauxite in the world accounting for as much as 17 percent of global output by 1949.
He added that the production of refractory and abrasive grades of bauxite by 1952 made Guyana the world’s most diversified producer of bauxite. Production soared to 2.2 million tonnes in 1957 and shortly after, a ten-dollar note was produced depicting bauxite mining and the aluminum plant.
Bauxite, the President said, at one time accounted for 43 percent of the country’s export earnings. The industry later slid into decline with the accompanying loss of revenue, employment, skills and export earnings.
There were others who attested to the importance of bauxite as a revenue earner and provider of employment opportunities in Linden, including Chairman of Region Ten Renis Morian, Mayor Carwyn Holland and senior Bosai executives.
The arch was later unveiled by the President. The event was witnessed by several Government officials including Minister Raphael Trotman, Minister of Tourism Cathy Hughes and the Chinese ambassador to Guyana. Scores of Lindeners defied the sweltering sunshine to also witness the historic occasion.
The arch’s unveiling, which coincided with the official launch of the Centenary Magazine, is considered to be one of the most auspicious events to mark the hundredth year of bauxite mining in Linden, formerly known as Mackenzie.
It follows several other events, including the unveiling of four centenary stamps on October 27th at Three Friends mines, where bauxite was first mined.
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