GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Following Barama Company Limited’s relinquishing of its 1.6 million hectare forest concession in October 2016, the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has awarded two lots totaling over 800,000 hectares of that concession to R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill and Rong-An Inc.
The Ministry of Natural Resources along with the GFC had taken the decision to divide the former Barama Company Limited concession into four parcels, each of approximately 400,000 hectares.
The Ministry advertised two of those parcels as State Forest Exploratory Permits, which means that there is a three year process of assessment prior to commercial full scale harvesting. The third parcel was identified for conservation and research, while the fourth was identified for small concession allocation of areas 20,000 acres and less.
Parcel 1 is a forest area of size 417,809.23 and is located in the Essequibo region (North West, Mazaruni Potaro District). Parcel 2 is a forest area of size 432,262.59 and is located in the Essequibo region (North West, Mazaruni Potaro District). The concessions are located in Northwest Guyana in Region 1 in the Barima-Waini, and Region 7 in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni sub-regions. The concession areas both have a high occurrence of a number of high-value commercial timber species, including Baromalli, Greenheart, Purpleheart, Mora, Wallaba, Crabwood and Kabukalli, among others.
Parcels 1 and 2 were opened for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the period ending February 10, 2017. These were advertised in the local media as well as in the international publications ‘Development Business’ and ‘The Economist’ and placed on several websites.
Ten submissions were made at this deadline, some for both parcels while others were for one or the other. These firms were invited to submit State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP) applications, pay the non-refundable fee, and complete a Business Plan Summary by April 28, 2017.
At the deadline of April 28, 2017, five applications were received from the following entities:
- Chemtech (Trinidadian firm) for Parcel 1
- L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill for Parcel 2
- Rong-An Inc. for both Parcels 1 and 2
- Forlene and Sons for Parcel 2
- ACE Resources (Canadian firm) for both parcels
Following the receipt of applications, the Technical Sub Committee of the GFC Board of Directors conducted a full review of each application. The review of the Technical Sub Committee concluded that Parcel 1 should be issued to Rong-An Inc., and for Parcel 2 to be issued to R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill for a three-year period commencing July 2017 to July 2020. Following this process, a recommendation was made to the full Board of Directors at the at the 129th Meeting held on June 27, 2017 approved for Parcel 1 to be allocated to Rong-An Inc., and for Parcel 2 to be allocated to R. L. Sukhram and Sons. This decision was approved by the full Board and has been implemented by the GFC.
It is expected that the awarding of the two parcels will result in benefits to the forestry sector over the course of the full operationalizing of the utilization/harvesting plan for the concession. These include a total investment of US$9.5 million by 2020, a total of 524 new jobs when the operations are at full scale, an increase of national production level by at least 189,000 m3 annually, an increase in export revenue by at least US$7 million, and an increase in harvesting of Lesser Used Species from the current 10-15 percent to at least 25 percent of total production.
The Ministry of Natural Resources congratulates R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill and Rong-An Inc. for successfully competing for the concessions. Further, the Ministry urges that they carry out their operations in a manner that is compliant with the GFC Code of Practice and other laws and regulations, respectful of the environment and beneficial to the People of Guyana.