Govt says BCGI jobs not in jeopardy as Rusal sanctions to be lifted

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A section of the Rusal’s Kurubuka bauxite plant

In light of the development that the matter involving the sanctions which were instituted by the US Government against Rusal, is close to being resolved, Guyana’s Government has expressed cautious optimism that jobs in the local workforce will not be in jeopardy.

In a statement issued by the Natural Resources Ministry, it was noted that Government has “been monitoring this unfolding saga for several months, and making necessary interventions, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has provided quiet diplomatic support, and is pleased that following a series of extensions that led to the postponement of the enforcement of the sanctions, a permanent and favorable resolution is in sight.”

They noted that as the Ministry continues to ensure that bauxite is mined and shipped to the benefit of workers and their families, and by extension, the national economy, the Social Cohesion Ministry has been charged by the President to be responsible for addressing the ongoing, and future, labour issues and guard workers’ rights.

Rusal owns 90 per cent of the Aroaima, Berbice-based Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc (BCGI).

It employs over 500 persons at its operations on the Berbice River between Kwakwani and Linden with the majority being Guyanese.

These workers have continuously expressed their concern about the impact of these sanctions on the company and them.

In a statement from the company on Thursday, it maintained that it “will do everything necessary to return the company to regular working conditions”.

In April 2018, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on billionaire Rusal majority shareholder, Oleg Deripaska, aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, and other companies he owns shares, citing “malign activities”.

This has since promoted turmoil in global aluminum markets, seeing prices elevating to as much as 20 per cent.

The agreement reached by the parties outline that sanctions on the company would only be lifted if Deripaska would significantly lower his stake in the company, which, it is reported, has been agreed.

President of En+ Group, Oleg Deripaska attends an agreement signing ceremony with the Krasnoyarsk region’s government, in Moscow, Russia December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

According to official reports, the US Treasury Department believes that companies in which  Deripaska owns shares, have committed to significantly diminish ownership and sever his control, hence their move to remove financial restrictions on Rusal and other groups in which he owns majority shares.

The companies will be subject to ongoing compliance and will face severe consequences if they fail to comply.

The move is reportedly set to take effect in 30 days.

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