… monitoring bauxite shipments
BY UTAMU BELLE
Operations at Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated (BMGGI) were placed under the microscope on Thursday, as Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Councillors made calls for proper systems of monitoring to be put in place by the Natural Resources Ministry to determine if anything apart from bauxite is being shipped out of Linden. The call was made after suspicions surfaced that apart from bauxite, other resources might also be leaving the shores of Guyana under the disguise of bauxite.
Councillors are also demanding that better systems be put in place regarding the company’s kilns to stop dust pollution in the community. During discussions at the monthly statutory meeting of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), Regional Chairman Renis Morian, proposed that a motion be moved to have the Natural Resources Ministry put a system of monitoring in place to determine exactly what is being shipped out of Linden by BMGGI, in addition to another motion which deals with the dust situation.
Councillor Charles Sampson, who put forward the motions, argued that despite a recent report that the community is no longer suffering from dust pollution, the issue still remains.
“Bosai installed dust collectors on kilns 13 and 14… he dust collectors are not interlinked. If one of the dust collectors shuts down during production, it will send dust into the atmosphere. Bosai got dust collectors on the calcine, but what about the dryer? The dryers throw the most dust into the atmosphere… some days when you crossing the bridge, by time you get to the other side your whole face white… dust is real in this community, and Bosai got to do much better. They got to put a dust collector on number 10 kiln, the dryer,” the Councillor outlined.
He continued that micro sized dust can still be seen in the air, especially at nights when passing the bauxite company and it is uncertain as to how efficient the dust collectors are. He said the onus is on the Natural Resources Ministry, the Public Health Ministry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce that dust in the atmosphere poses serious threats to the lives of people in the community, noting that other areas such as West Watooka and Canvas City are adversely affected.
Meanwhile, the Regional Chairman called for a recommendation to be sent to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to have monitoring officials present to verify whether anything else besides bauxite is being exported. In his monthly report, Regional Vice Chairman Elroy Adolph, related that there was a recent visit by a team from the Natural Resources Ministry to Linden where meetings were hosted with BMGGI.
Also speaking on the issue, Sampson noted that at the meeting, a question was asked about whether or not the quality of bauxite leaving the shores is known based on analysis.
“Whatever Bosai ships out, based on the quality, that determines how much would have to be paid to GRA… We do not know what quality of bauxite goes out of this country on a consistent basis by either RUSAL or Bosai… we are being fooled and the only way we would know is if we set up a laboratory and get the samples that Bosai analyse so that we can cross check… we might say that fresh water ain’t got value but you know how much for a bottle of water… this is what we does process to drink,” he said.
In putting forward the motion, Sampson called for all shipments and activities related to bauxite to be monitored to determine the quality and quantity, as well as for analysis to be carried out. As such, he called on Government to set up a laboratory.
Additionally, Councillor Gordon Callender said the Council needs to take stock of what is happening in the bauxite industry by taking steps to monitor operations. The motion was seconded by Councillor Antonio Hackett with an amendment for the Maritime Administration Agency to be involved.