US company granted state forest permit

The government through the Guyana Forestry Commis-sion (GFC) has granted a State Forest Exploratory Permit to American wood processing outfit Simon and Shock Inc (SSI), after months of due diligence and some tension between the company and the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest).

The company had indicated its earlier frustration with the lengthy process, which had been stagnated for some months. To this, the government said that the time was spent performing due diligence background checks to ensure that the company had the capacity to implement what it said it would.

The company, started by CEO Kelly Simon and Mike Shock, will set up a sawmill in Linden with the aim of revitalising Guyana’s lumber industry. The two company executives are expected in Guyana next week for further talks.

The company has been awarded concessions totalling 391,892 hectares in Regions Six and Nine. SSI expects total employment to exceed 112 with at least 85 per cent local hire ranging from senior management to starting positions. The company plans to invest over US$26 million in three years.

Simon said SSI has spent the last three years formulating and implementing a new and practical approach to sawmilling in Guyana. He said there are five other such mills: four in the US and one in Europe. “We propose to build the sixth, and most advanced in Guyana.”

President Bharrat Jagdeo announced the status of the company’s permit during his end-of-year press conference on Saturday.

Speaking from his Michigan office yesterday, Simon said there was a breakthrough in talks with the government during the holidays. “We do have our exploratory permit and we are setting up our mill

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