Dec 04, 2019 News
The operations of a number of foreign mining companies are coming under the scrutiny of the administration.
Cabinet has reportedly ordered that a team of ministers and senior government officials report on the overall performance of the companies.
The Natural Resources sector has been rocked in recent months by layoffs and burning questions over the duty free concess
ions and tax breaks the companies would have benefitted from.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources yesterday, several ministers and officials from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) met Monday over the ongoing situation and the way forward.
While the Ministry was not specific, a short statement made it clear that the situation was important to warrant the attention of the Cabinet.
“The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Natural Resources met on Monday to discuss and strategise about ongoing matters and future developments within the gold, bauxite and manganese industries. Specific focus was placed on the welfare of workers, the operations of foreign companies and the overall sustainability of the sector.”
The meeting, hosted by Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources, was attended by Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance; Dav
id Patterson, Minister of Public Infrastructure;
Winston Felix, Minister of Citizenship; and Keith Scott, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection.
Also at the meeting were Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Newell Dennison and technical officers from the respective ministries.
According to the ministry, “The Committee will report to Cabinet on a continuous basis as it engages stakeholders and reviews the overall performance of companies operating within the sector.”
The decision to look closer to the operations of a number of those mining companies would come amid deep worry.
For example, the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI), which is controlled by Rusal, the second biggest bauxite company in the world, is facing severe backlash for receiving billions of dollars in tax breaks and duty free concessions on fuel and equipment.
Yet, for more than a decade, the company which has operations in the Upper Berbice River area, Region Ten, has been telling the Government of Guyana, which owns 10 percent, that no profits have been made.
Despite no profits, Guyana continued to approve those duty free waivers.
Recently, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) moved to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in waived taxes after reportedly finding evidence that BCGI sold a few pieces of the equipment.
There have been other indications of abuse of concessions.
BCGI would be one of the companies under review.
Another company would be Australian-owned Troy Resources, which recently laid off scores of workers after a deadly pit cave-in, forced a suspension of operations in that Region Seven mine.
There have been burning questions about what exactly Guyana is getting despite those billions of dollars in waivers.
Other mining companies that are reportedly likely to fall under scrutiny are the AGM Inc., the country’s biggest gold mining operations, in Region Seven, and Bosai Minerals, which runs a bauxite operations in Region Ten.
Bosai has also taken over a manganese operation in Region One.
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