Linmine withdraws bridge concession to Bai Shan Lin

-Moblissa residents threaten to shut down operations

By Jeff Trotman

The Linmine Secretariat has withdrawn, with immediate effect, a concession it had given to Chinese company Bai Shan Lin International Forest Development Inc for the company’s trucks to transport materials across the Wismar/Mackenzie Bridge to fix the Moblissa Road.

This information was given to Regional Chairman, Region Ten, Kwesi Sharma Solomon, in a letter dated yesterday. The letter, which this newspaper has seen, is signed by Chief Executive Officer of Linmine Horace James. It states: “Following your request for concession to be granted to [Bai Shan Lin] to cross the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge to transport laterite for the repairs to Moblissa Farm Road, as of 2nd July 2013 – 144 truckloads of laterite plus two light vehicles have crossed the bridge,

Kwesi Sharma Solomon
Kwesi Sharma Solomon

resulting in a concession value of $216,800. My observation and reports received, only less than 10 truckloads have been placed at Moblissa Road, the remainder is being placed on [Bai Shan Lin’s] road to Conception which is against the agreement.

“Please inform [the company] that the concession has been withdrawn immediately and they will have to now pay to cross the bridge.”

Bai Shan Lin has not been speaking to the press on a series of matters that have been ventilated recently and it was therefore not possible to obtain a comment from it yesterday.

Meanwhile, residents of Moblissa have threatened to invade Bai Shan Lin’s operations at Conception in the Moblissa area and shut it down today.

Solomon, at a press conference late yesterday, expressed disappointment at the way Bai Shan Lin has dealt with the Moblissa Road, which it has damaged.

He said the company had removed 47,000 tonnes of loam from Moblissa over a six-month period, without any authorisation and in the process damaged a community road that the residents are solely dependent on for their means of livelihood – going to their farms and taking their produce from them.

“Farmers have complained that they have suffered significantly,” Solomon said. “One farmer has had his vehicle badly damaged; axle broken because of the damage done to the road.”

Noting that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) had served Bai Shan Lin several orders to stop mining at Moblissa, the regional chairman reiterated that the community of about 500 people has “informed Bai Shan Lin that it is going to shut the company down by Thursday (today).”

He said after Moblissa residents made it known previously that they intended to invade Bai Shan Lin’s operation at Concession in the Moblissa area, the RDC met Bai Shan Lin’s officials at the RDC Office in Linden and at Moblissa.

He said it was agreed then in the presence of Chairman of the Forestry Commission Clinton Williams as well as residents of the community along with Bai Shan Lin’s Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director that Bai Shan Lin should fix the road. Solomon added that the Bai Shan Lin officials said the company was prepared to fix the road to a state better than it was previously.

He said it was further agreed that the best material must be used to fix the road. Consequently, Charles Ceres accepted the responsibility of testing the material through his company Ground Structures Engineering and it was found that the material that Bai Shan Lin was using from Moblissa to fix the road did not have adequate plasticity.

Solomon further stated that the RDC identified a laterite pit at Three Mile, a location beyond Wisroc on the Wismar shore, ten miles from Moblissa by road. He said Ground Structures Engineer-ing tested the laterite at Three Miles and found it acceptable for the job. The information was then passed to Bai Shan Lin and the company accepted that it would use material from that location to fix the Moblissa road.

“We gave them information on the materials at Three Mile, access to the pit and obtained concession from Linmine that the Bai Shan Lin trucks will not pay the bridge toll,” Solomon said.

He said Bai Shan Lin personnel were excited because they had access to better material not only to fix the Moblissa road but to also build up their concession, which is located in a marshy area. However, based on records from the bridge, Solomon said, Bai Shan Lin has moved 144 truckloads but less than ten truckloads have been placed in a location to fix the Moblissa Road; the rest went to Bai Shan Lin’s Conception site.

“I was at the site on Monday,” Solomon said. “What was done at the Moblissa Road is a travesty. They have less than ten loads. It is deliberate. Bai Shan Lin threw the loam in front the road to give the impression that work had started. Bai Shan Lin is putting roller with grader and all the necessary equipment to fix their concession with material that the region gave to them under concession – giving up $216,800…

“Bai Shan Lin diverted those 144 truckloads for their own purpose while putting a few truck loads on the Moblissa Road, causing further hardship to the community.”

Solomon added that recently, “an elderly woman, who was sick and three pregnant women were unable to leave the location on time because it was difficult to get transportation in and out.”

The regional chairman said the Moblissa Road should have been repaired in ten days and should have already been fixed but Bai Shan Lin has ignored that obligation and has been meticulously spreading material from Three Mile with a grader at the Bai Shan Lin operation site.

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