“Where will it all end? As far as Beijing is concerned, it will stop only when Africa no longer has any
minerals or oil to be extracted from the continent,” stated Andrew Malone in an article he wrote that was published on Mail Online. (Read more at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1036105/How-Chinas-taking-Africa-West-VERY-worried.html#ixzz4rX0xAZMZ.)
That except is pertinent to this week’s article as we continue to highlight China’s obsession with getting its hands on valued commodities in vulnerable and underdeveloped countries.
The world power’s penchant for gold, oil and timber is today’s focus.
China modus operandi in Africa indeed mirrors events in Guyana. Many African countries have natural resources like those found in Guyana. China has no inhibitions in going after these resources.
Africa has been seen as a victim of China. The story of the relationship between Africa and China is indeed one that highlights the art of trickery.
Across Africa, the red flag of China is flying high. Lucrative deals are being struck to buy Africa’s commodities – oil, platinum, gold and minerals.
While China has been constantly reminding Africa of the “beneficial” trade relations, any real evaluation of that relationship would show that it is only China that is really benefitting. Many contend that Africa is getting the short end of the stick, importing cheap Chinese toys and goods, while exporting valuable commodities like oil and timber to China’s shores.
The Financial Times reported, “From Libya and Zambia to Ghana and Mozambique, Chinese businesses have gained a reputation for unbridled extraction, whether of old-forest timber, oil, gold or illegal ivory.” (Read more at: https://www.ft.com/content/0f534aa4-4549-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996.)
China is the world’s largest importer of timber.
International journalist, Charles Bryant wrote, “It’s estimated that 70 percent of African timber ends up in Chinese ports; a figure that hints at massive deforestation. There are also assertions that Chinese mining operations in Africa are staffed with African laborers earning less than one Yuan per day, which is about US14 cents. And in some parts of Africa, Chinese-only communities have gates, and blacks are not allowed to enter.” Read more at: http://people.howstuffworks.com/china-taking-over-world.htm.
More than a thousand miles of new Chinese railroads are crisscrossing the continent, carrying billions of tons of illegally-logged timber, diamonds and gold.
The situation is so bad that Africans are beginning to feel as if they are being controlled by China. Mail Online reported that one prominent African businessman; Trevor Ncube said, “The Chinese are all over the place…If the British were our masters yesterday, the Chinese have taken their place.” Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1036105/How-Chinas-taking-Africa-West-VERY-worried.html#ixzz4rWxis4tY
The story of China and Guyana carries a very similar plot to that of China and Africa.
Gold, timber and diamond have been shipped out of Guyana on a large scale to China. And like Africa, Guyana got little in return. Local workers here are treated inhumanely, as they are in Africa.
Former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran had conducted a forensic audit into the affairs of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). During his investigations, Goolsarran found that China was literally raping Guyana.
Goolsarran reported that during 2007 to 2015, BaiShanLin and four companies owned/ controlled by it, exported a total of 50,928 cubic metres of logs with an FOB (“Free On Board”), value of US$4.483 million. BaiShanLin is partially owned by the government of China.
This newspaper reported that BaiShanLin exported Guyana’s most exotic woods.
However, despite all that BaiShanLin has been able to take from Guyana, the company has developed a reputation of mistreating the few Guyanese workers it employs.
Just like in Africa, locals are treated badly in Guyana when employed by Chinese. Former Region Ten Chairman, Sharma Solomon, had said that some workers attached to BaiShanLin, frequented the Office of the Regional Democratic Council complaining of the way the company had been violating their rights. The Chairman said that workers lamented the conditions they worked under. They had also been complaining of bad treatment and poor payment. Solomon said BaiShanLin had workers on its payroll who were being paid as little as $500 a day.
Since 2012, Kaieteur News reported the concerns of local miners that Chinese were taking over the gold mining industry.
They said that the Chinese seemingly had more privileges than those who were born and bred in Guyana. Read more: https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2012/07/17/local-miners-lament-%E2%80%98chinese-take-over%E2%80%99-at-imbaimadai/.
Over the years, the Chinese presence continued to grow stronger without any interference. In fact, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic government supported the growing presence of Chinese in the industry.
Just last year, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan told the National Assembly that billions of dollars were lost because of poor management of the concessions for foreign investors.
A government official told Kaieteur News that the gold and timber sectors are two of the biggest areas that have been defrauding the country of revenues. In addition to smuggling, a large number of miners have not been up-to-date with their gold declarations. The official said the failure to declare their gold hampered them from benefiting from a number of concessions granted by Government.
Checks with other Government officials revealed that the Chinese alone have been allowed access to hundreds of thousands of acres of mining lands. Two of the large beneficiaries are Rong-An Inc. and BaiShanLin.
These two companies, despite their large scale gold mining, on a number of locations across the country, have not been making the corresponding declarations of gold, government officials say.
Rong-An barely declared 150 ounces in 2014. There was no declaration in 2015 by the said company.
BaiShanLin, through a number of companies and its principal, Chu Hongbo, has no records that suggest it was making declarations.
For each ounce of gold sold, Guyana is supposed to collect seven percent of the value in royalty. This should have raised alarming questions over the monitoring being conducted by the regulator, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). But according to the official, there was no question asked, so nothing was done.
Because the new government clamped down on BaiShanLin’s logging operations, the focus is now on gold. A few years ago, Rong-An Inc. was reportedly removed from mining in the vicinity of the Kaieteur Falls. It was affecting residents who lived downstream in the area.
Read more at: https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2016/02/05/despite-large-scale-gold-operationschinese-companies-make-no-declarations/
Just this past week, Government announced that it has awarded a forest area of 417,809.23 hectares of forest lands to Rong-An Inc. The land is located in the Essequibo region (North West, Mazaruni Potaro District) and would represent a quarter of the 1.6M hectares that Malaysian-owned Barama Company Limited has relinquished within the last year.
The Ministry said it advertised two of the four parcels of those Barama lands as State Forest Exploratory Permits, which meant that there is a three-year process of assessment prior to commercial full scale harvesting.
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