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The Government of Guyana is mulling the restart of the bauxite industry in Region Ten (Upper Demerara – Berbice). This disclosure was made by Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton during a Government outreach to the Region last week.
“For us, what we want is a recommencement of the bauxite operation, not necessarily with RUSAL, because our major concern is not RUSAL, it is the workers in Region Ten getting back to work,” Hamilton told residents of Kwakwani.
He assured the residents that Government is examining employment options for workers in the bauxite industry who have been affected by the closure of the Russia Aluminum’s (RUSAL) operations here.
The Minister said that following a meeting last year between the Labour Ministry and RUSAL, the company was asked to submit a report to the Ministry of Natural Resources, which that Ministry is examining.
He also said that during that process, Oldendorff Carriers Guyana Incorporated ceased its operations here as well and shipped its major barge out of the country. These actions also led to unemployment.
Minister Hamilton said he expects that the Natural Resources Ministry would continue to examine the matter closely even as preparations for Budget 2021 are ongoing.
“Once, I suspect, the Government has a good proposal of the situation, we will consider it, so that we can have a re-activation of the bauxite industry in this part of the country.”
In an interview with DPI in October, Minister Hamilton said nearly 600 persons lost their jobs when the company suspended its operations. At that time, he had said the most important issue for the Government was securing employment for workers.
RUSAL, founded in 2004, has a 90 per cent stake in Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) and possesses licences to develop Linden, Kwakwani and Ituni deposits in Guyana. The Government owns the remaining stake in the company.