For disposal: 30,000 tonnes of scrap metal

It’s a scrap metal dealer’s dream come true. Thirty thousand tonnes of scrap metal are up for grabs for whoever can prove that they have the ability to handle this amount.

In an advertisement in today’s Stabroek News, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) says that in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Reunion Manganese Inc, it is desirous of disposing of the vast amount of scrap metal. There was no word in the notice as to how proceeds from the disposal would be distributed.

The notice said that the scrap metal comprises disused machinery and equipment such as rail locomotives, rail tracks and sleepers, rail cars, earth moving machinery and steel frames from building plants. The scrap metal is located in Matthews Ridge and Port Kaituma in the north west district and along the railway corridor between the two communities.

The metal is the rusting remnants from manganese extraction operations decades ago in the area. A railway system was used to transport the ore bearing material. A Canadian company Reunion Manganese is to operate a new manganese mine in the area and clearing of the old equipment has to be done.

The advertisement said that interested parties have to tender their bids to The Scrap Metal Committee c/o The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Upper Brickdam, Stabroek on or before Noon on Monday October 28th.

Interested parties have to provide proof of financial capabilities to undertake the purchase of a minimum of 30,000 metric tonnes of scrap metal, have a copy of a valid `Old Metal Dealer’s Licence’ and a list of machinery and equipment owned by or available to capably handle a minimum of 30,000 tonnes of scrap metal.

The bid document can be uplifted at the GGMC. The notice did not say when the bids would be opened.

Fuelled by demand from China and India, the scrap metal industry has thrived here over the last decade and has led to massive theft of metal from utility companies and other places. This has resulted in several shutdowns of the industry and a ban on exports in recent years. Demand from Asia has tapered somewhat but the industry still has a significant number of players. Whether any of them will be able to meet the requirements set out in the notice is unclear.

Reunion Manganese in January last year forecast an investment of US$250 million at its Matthews Ridge project with commissioning of the manganese mine slated for mid-2014. Reunion plans to extract two million tonnes of manganese concentrate per year, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Joachim Bayah had told a Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) luncheon then. The level of production that the company plans will “put Guyana on the world map,” Bayah said.

The company has four exploration permits (EPs) totalling 45,729 acres of manganese prospects around Matthews Ridge which are surrounded by two large prospecting permits (PPs) totalling approximately 40,000 square miles. The PLs are centred in and around the abandoned manganese mine at Matthews 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. Reunion was awarded the rights to Matthews Ridge in September 2010 and in March 2011 the company signed a mineral agreement with the Government of Guyana.

In August this year, Reunion said that its pre-feasibility study has indicated proven and probable mineral reserves of 26.3 million tonnes with an average grade of 14.2% manganese.

Its study envisioned production of 750,000 tonnes of manganese concentrate per year over a 10-year mine life at an initial capital cost of US$233 million. It forecast an internal rate of return of 15.7% based on consensus manganese price forecasts. Further, the study said that there was potential for expansion as satellite manganese deposits offer significant potential to extend mine life or lead to expansion.

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