Government last evening signed an agreement with Canadian mining company Reunion Manganese Inc aimed at resuscitating the mining of the fifth most prevalent metal in the Matthew’s Ridge area, North West District – manganese.
The signing took place at the Office of the Prime Minister at Wight’s Lane, Kingston after which Prime Minister Samuel Hinds stated that the agreement sets the framework for the continuation of prospecting for the metal by Reunion in the North West area
The metal was once mined in the Matthew’s Ridge area in the 1960s.
The Prime Minister said that over a year ago the company approached the authorities with the intention of “restoring manganese operations at Matthew’s Ridge.”
He said, “this is hopefully a day when you look back years from now which will be significant for many in Guyana”.
The arrangements with Reunion Manganese are mapped on the basis of the old agreements which the government worked with during the days of the Omai Gold Mines Limited operations.
Hinds, who holds the portfolio of Minister of Mining, noted too that mining for natural resources was “not a bonanza that you would just stretch your hand out and find gold,” but rather, “it takes a lot of commitment.” He said the manganese operation will be a good opportunity for employment and for the economy of the country.
Executive Chairman of Reunion Manganese David Fennel termed the mineral agreement “an important milestone for Guyana,” and he added that he had travelled here with a team last year with elaborate plans to mine for the metal.
He said that though the Prime Minister was “a bit skeptical” initially, he worked along with the process. Fennel assured that he and his team will prove that the metal would be recovered from the Matthew’s Ridge area via “the application of modern science and luck”.
He said that the company has set out an operating parameter for the next 25 years, and will work in accordance with existing regulations.
According to the company’s website, Reunion Manganese, which is a subsidiary of Reunion Gold Corporation, has assembled a large, strategic land position in North-western Guyana and Eastern Suriname.
In September 2010, Reunion Manganese was awarded by the Government of Guyana four prospecting licenses (PLs) to conduct exploration and development activities for manganese in the North West District.
The PLs cover an area of 45,729 acres and are centred in and around the abandoned manganese mine at Matthew’s Ridge and Pipiani which was operated by a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation from 1962 to 1968.
In excess of 1.66 million tonnes of manganese concentrate were shipped from the mine site during that period.
The company is currently executing an exploration programme which consists of trenching, geological mapping and drilling on the Matthew’s Ridge old mine area with the objective of delineating a resource compliant with Canadian national Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.
Geochemistry and geophysics, in particular a ground geophysical survey will be carried out outside the old mine area to expand exploration targets. The company completed a $5.25 million private placement financing in April, 2010 and is well-funded to initiate the work programme, it was noted.