Although construction of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Station has been scrapped, authorities hope that the road leading to the area will be a plus for gold mining, forestry and tourism.
About GUY$126 million have been set aside in the 2015 National Budget to complete the last 10 kilometers of the road whose construction has so far cost US$42 million.
Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson told reporters that government hopes that when the road is completed that it will open up access to gold mining lands and probably an overland access to the Kaieteur Falls. “It opens up a new area. The contract is signed. Most of these guys would have been paid already so they have to finish the work,” he said. Patterson explained that the budgeted amount is for retention and remedial works.
He said authorities were exploring how to recover the cost of building the road to Amaila Falls where the estimated US$1 billion Hydropower station should have been built. “We are looking at cost recovery programmes – a toll on the road- see who wants to use it,” he said, adding that revenue would be used to maintain the road.
“It opens up a bit of a mining land and forest land for concessions and I am also looking at the possibility- of course it is an environmental issue- it is only twelve miles from the bottom of Kaieteur so if the environmental persons can commit, there is a possibility of opening up a land route,” said Patterson.
He said no one lives in the area.
Backed by an Inter American Development Bank (IDB) study, the recently elected coalition government scrapped plans to build the power station, saying that the financial burden on the Treasury and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) would have been great and would not have resulted in lower electricity tariffs.