Last Updated on Friday, 27 January 2017, 15:16 by Denis Chabrol
The takeover of manganese operations in north-western Guyana by the Chinese company, BOSAI Minerals, will see the creation of at least 400 permanent jobs and the improvement of a wharf and roads at Port Kaituma during the lifespan of the mine, the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.
“Bosai expects that employment numbers can reach as high as 1,200 during the peak of construction and then stabilise at 300 to 400 during normal operations. Once in production, the company intends to ship 350,000 tonnes of manganese per year,” the ministry said. Bosai will mine using conventional open pit methods with minimum blasting and the mine will have a life of 15 to 35 years; depending on the rate of extraction, government said.
The Ministry of Natural Resources urged BOSAI Minerals, which mines bauxite in Linden, not to violate workers’ rights and ensure proper environmental management. “The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission commits to supporting the new Bosai-controlled manganese in the execution of its exploration and extraction activities and likewise expects it to conduct its operations in a manner that is respectful to the rights of workers, to the country’s laws and to the environment,” the ministry added.
Those benefits were listed in a statement announcing Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman’s consent to a November 4, 2016 agreement reached between Bosai Minerals Group and Reunion Gold Corporation. The agreement stipulates that Reunion will transfer to Bosai the four prospecting licences that make up the Matthews Ridge project, the March 2011 Mineral Agreement between Reunion, Guyana and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and capital assets, pursuant to the agreement.
While mining operations are slated to begin in about two years, preparatory works in Matthews Ridge will commence during the second half of 2017.
The preparations, government said, would include the construction of wharf facility at Port Kaituma to receive supplies for the mine and mill, and the construction and upgrading of roads from Port Kaituma wharf to Matthews Ridge and Pipiani.
Other works would include mine development work including stripping and pit work for ore extraction, construction of tailings management and water supply facilities, and installing a milling plant for treatment of manganese ores to concentrate building of additional infrastructure at the mine to support the operation.
Reunion’s exploration programme on acquiring the licenses in 2010 was designed to identify and measure the manganese resources in the four Prospecting Licenses. The exploration programme confirmed the occurrence of manganese mineralization.
Since then, Reunion Manganese Inc., a subsidiary of Reunion Gold Corporation, has spent over US$50 million to define what it described as a world-class manganese deposit in Matthews Ridge. There is an initial 10 million tonnes of concentrate with the potential to double with the addition of the satellite site of Pipiani.
Further, Reunion has conducted environmental and social baseline studies in anticipation of a complete project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in conformity with international and local standards. Significantly, no issues have been identified that would hinder project development.