Vaitarna set to start building wood processing facility at Wineperu

Having invested US$14 million since commencing operations here, logging company Vaitarna Holding Private Incorporated (VHPI) is in an advanced stage of setting up its promised wood processing facility at Wineperu, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud has said.

In response to questions from Stabroek News, Persaud said he was advised by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) that the facility is located at the company’s log yard at Wineperu on the west bank of the Essequibo River. “The facility is being constructed on an area of approximately 30,000 square feet. The land has been cleared; the surveying and design of the structure is in progress; and construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2014,” he said.

Vaitarna’s director Chethan Narayan was unavailable when Stabroek News contacted the firm’s office several times over the past weeks. Company officials said that Narayan would return calls to Stabroek News but this was not done. The company had said that a wood processing facility would be set up here and since it began operations over three years ago, it has exported logs to India and China. Persaud had previously said that there would be no large-scale export of logs by Vaitarna.

The minister told Stabroek News recently that he was advised by the GFC that the company is in preparation for swift commencement of processing as soon as construction is completed in the coming months. Already, two Wood Mizer WM 4000 have been ordered, complete with additional value-added equipment such as equipment for material handling, resawing and edging, he said. The equipment are expected to arrive in Guyana within three months and start-up of processing is scheduled to commence within six to eight months.

According to the information received by Stabroek News, input capacity of these mills is approximately 24,000 cubic metres per year with an output capacity of approximately 14,000 cubic metres of processed timber. Persaud was advised that once the wood processing operation is fully operational, the next phase planned by Vaitarna is the installation of kiln drying facilities in accordance with the GFC guidelines.

The GFC said that to date, overall investment by Vaitarna is approximately US$14 million for machinery acquisition, road construction, marine transportation, base camp and accommodation facilities. Among the equipment acquired are 15 Caterpillar machinery and other equipment, log loaders, skidders, bulldozers, compactors, excavators, dump truck, back hoe loader, crane, logging trucks, Model M trucks, and a pick-up. Additionally the company has acquired two barges and one tug to support its marine transportation needs.

As it relates to its base camp, 18 staff houses, several base camps, six executive houses, a canteen, administrative office and a workshop have been constructed at Wineperu.

Stabroek News understands that the current employment level of the company is 80 fulltime staff, and 30 contractors mainly engaged in forest inventory activities. Approximately 90% of the total staff complement is local persons. It added that this staff complement is planned to increase as Vaitarna’s operations progresses in 2014. Vaitarna’s planned production level for 2014 is 30 000 cubic metres of wood.

The GFC said that the company has constructed 35 kilometres of new primary roads to date and plans to construct an additional 30-40 km of new primary roads in 2014. To date, the company is actively involved in maintaining 125 km of primary and secondary roads.

VHPI is a subsidiary of the India-based Coffee Day Group. Coffee Day, through its Dark Forest subsidiary, in 2010 acquired the State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP) for 391,853 hectares of forest originally awarded in 2007 to US-based Simon and Shock International Logging Inc (SSILI), after buying out SSILI.

After the acquisition, the company registered in Guyana as SSILI. Subsequently, Dark Forest acquired the 345,961 hectares concession which was originally assigned to Caribbean Resources Limited (CRL). The government accepted an offer of $600 million for the Timber Sales Agreement.  The company was registered as VHPI and has been harvesting and exporting logs from this concession.

The total area held by Coffee Day is 737,814 hectares of forest, making it the second largest forestry concession holder in Guyana.

More in Local News

default placeholder

India beat West Indies by an innings and 92 runs

NORTH SOUND, Antigua,  CMC – India defeated West Indies by an innings and 92 runs, 25 minutes after tea on the fourth day of the opening Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium here today.

Jaikarran Chandradeo

Two more held as cops look for motive in Corentyne triple murder

Police yesterday detained two more persons as they continued to try to unravel the motive behind the gruesome shooting to death of two men and a teenage boy, whose bodies were discovered at Kokerite Savannah, Mibicuri Creek, on Friday.

These children enjoyed being pushed home by a cousin


Riverstown, a village on the Essequibo Coast, is pressed between Pomona and Airy Hall. Once you cross the railway-like bridge over a black water creek, you’re in Riverstown, where there are more than 700 residents.

Raphael Trotman

SARU operating legally despite absence of legislation

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said on Thursday that the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) is operating legally and despite its inability to prosecute persons, it is currently doing investigative work which is part of its mandate.

Dead: Orin Morris

Sophia stevedore killed in freak accident at wharf

The body of a stevedore attached to the John Fernandes Limited, Water Street wharf was retrieved from the Demerara River on Thursday evening, more than a day after he was involved in a freak accident.

The old abandoned Moco-Moco Hydropower Station

2018 deadline set for completion of Moco-Moco hydropower facility

Due diligence is currently being done on two firms that had bid to rehabilitate the Moco-Moco hydropower facility and the project should be completed by the end of 2018, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson says.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: