Guyana gets closer to producing manganese after 41 years; US$233M investment likely

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Reunion Manganese is targeting a silica manganese product at its Matthews Ridge, Region One operation in its pursuit to develop market access, employment and investment, executives said in a presentation at the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment yesterday. This will mean the production of Manganese after 41 years.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud extended an invitation to the parliamentary political parties to receive the presentation by the company which recently completed its pre-feasibility study, a critical landmark for the project to be funded and implemented.

The interest of Reunion Manganese in the silica product stems from a pursuit by FerroAtlantica of Spain which is seeking to build partnership with the local company that was granted four prospecting licences covering 180,000 square kilometers in September 2010.

According to a GINA release, “Based on preliminary works that included laboratory tests locally and overseas, the manganese-to-iron ration has been positive with concentrates good enough for what is referred to as the silico manganese markets.

“What is a selling point for manganese out of Matthews Ridge is phosphorous. The phosphorous limits are normally 0.15. A lot of the manganese out of Africa tends to have phosphorous levels above those limits and people prefer to buy low phosphorous manganese so that they can bring their phosphorous levels down,” Joel Byah from Reunion Manganese explained.

Low carbonate manganese was identified as another ingredient that makes manganese in Guyana advantageous as it is also a high market demand, according to Byah.

In a power point presentation of its project development plan to representatives of the Government, opposition and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the company intends to buttress its own energy generation from diesel to hydroelectricity and seek support in iron out bottlenecks to a successful operation.

It has already mapped a trans-shipment route that includes travel from Matthews Ridge to Port Kaituma, through the Waini en-route to either Oldendorff at the mouth of the Berbice River or Trinidad and Tobago.

Oldendorff Carriers (Guyana) Incorporated, is a company contracted by the Russian, Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) for transshipment of bauxite from Aroarima

The presentations made by Norman Mclean, Joel Byah and Geologist Dr. Grantley Walrond also zeroed in on the company’s concentrations at Arakaka, Pipiani, Monosee, Barima and Beacon Hill, areas to the North and South of Matthews Ridge.

Representing the Government were Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister Persuad, and Public Works Minister Robeson Benn. The opposition attendees were A Partnership for National Unity’s Rupert Roopnarine and Ronald Bulkan and General Secretary of the Alliance for Change David Patterson, all of whom expressed that the long awaited project would come to successful fruition in their interaction.

They also recalled a meeting Reunion Manganese and FerroAtlantica had with the opposition a few months ago.

Over the two years that the company has been given the green light to resuscitate the defunct and derelict manganese operations in the Matthews Ridge area, over US$45M has been expended.

The company has successfully overhauled the power station, office complex, vehicle and maintenance workshop and Pakera House as it was popularly known. Works are ongoing on the laboratory.

Reunion Manganese, an offshoot of a successful gold operation in Canada called Reunion Gold is headed by Executive Chairman David Fennell who brings with him a wealth of experience.

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