Aussie firm buys $1.1B in equipment for Karouni gold project

-mineral agreement to be sealed next month

Troy Resources Guyana Inc yesterday received over $1.1B worth of equipment for its Karouni gold mining project, which is expected to begin production next year.

During the ceremony for the handing over of the equipment at a compound at Kuru Kururu, Soesdyke-Linden Highway, Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud said that the mineral agreement to pave the way for the first bar of gold production in the large scale modern gold mining project is expected to be signed early next month.

The equipment, manufactured in South Korea by Doosan and sold by Farm Supplies Ltd, comprises of a fleet of 12 Doosan DA40 trucks and three Doosan DX 500 excavators. It represents the largest ever purchase of Doosan equipment in Latin America or the Caribbean, according to the company.

Through a public private-partnership between the Government Technical Institute (GTI) and Farm Supplies Ltd, specially-trained

The heavy duty trucks and excavators (Photo by Michael Fernandes)
The heavy duty trucks and excavators (Photo by Michael Fernandes)

technicians will provide after sales servicing of the equipment.

Schelte Van Dijk, a Farm Supplies Ltd representative who spoke at the ceremony, said for any mining operation to be successful, it is essential to have a reliable equipment dealer, not only for spare parts but one that can provide technical support as well. This, he said, ensures miners a reduced production cost and optimum performance of their equipment. He also emphasised the importance of public-private partnerships in bridging the gap of technical skills in the labour force.

Renato Yearwood, a lecturer at GTI, said that the initiative to conduct the training started just over 1 ½ years ago and evolved into the programme that trained a batch of nine individuals, who received certificates yesterday. The hands-on competency-based training involves more practical experience than theory and this is where Farm Supplies played a pivotal role since GTI lacks the requisite equipment to facilitate practical exercises.

Ken Nilsson, the CEO of Troy Resources, said the cornerstone of any successful mining operation is good, reliable equipment and operators and he commended the training of the technicians who received their certificates yesterday. He noted that it is always a challenge to find suitable personnel to perform the required work but felt assured that because of the training initiative, sourcing labour locally will not be an issue.

Meanwhile, Minister Persaud, who also spoke at the ceremony, declared that his ministry is working assiduously to ensure that the mineral agreement will not short cut any processes and is in keeping with the Mining Act, subsidiary regulations and Environmental Protection Act. He used the forum to state that there is much development in the mining sector and that he is optimistic about gold mining in the future. He noted that the Aurora Mines, in Essequibo, is expected to start gold production by the second quarter of 2015 and will be employing approximately 700 persons.

Persaud also said he hoped that the equipment can be made available to the small and medium-scale miners and he urged the supplier to work with the ministry to combat the challenges faced, whether it be in financing or quality of service. This, he said, would contribute to the national desire to have a responsible and environmentally-sustainable gold mining sector.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud stand with representatives from Troy Resources Guyana Inc., Farm Supplies Ltd. and Doosan in front of some of the equipment. (Photo by Michael Fernandes)
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud stand with representatives from Troy Resources Guyana Inc., Farm Supplies Ltd. and Doosan in front of some of the equipment. (Photo by Michael Fernandes)

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds was also present and he voiced his hope that the project will be successful and that Guyana will earn royalties and taxes in addition to other economic benefits from the operation. He indicated that the government is ensuring the development of Guyana’s natural resources is being done sustainably, despite recent sensationalism of what he deemed ordinary operations in the forestry sector.

According to a Troy Resources Guyana statement, the Karouni Project currently in preparation for the construction phase, with works to be carried out for the installation of a ball mill, mine operations, employee housing and other critical infrastructural works. It said the company is expected to complete the construction of its US$87M mine in the West Omai region before the middle of 2015 and once completed it will employ approximately 300 persons, including contractors.

The company is a subsidiary of Australian exploration and mining company Troy Resources Limit-ed, which has gold mining operations globally, including in Brazil and Argentina in South America.

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