China logging firm pushing ahead with big expansion

The Chinese logging firm Bai Shan Lin is moving to construct a wood processing facility, ship building operation and exhibition centre and has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for environmental authorization.

In an ad in the Stabroek News, the EPA said that it has determined that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not required for the projects and an environmental authorization with specific conditions for environmental management may be granted to the applicants for the implementation of the projects. In relation to the first two projects, the EPA in another ad, said that it has been determined that an environmental management plan be done by an independent body and submitted to the agency for approval.

The plan will detail specific measures and processes to be undertaken by the company to ensure that the proposed projects are implemented in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. Anyone who may be affected by these projects may lodge an appeal within 30 days against the EPA’s decision that an EIA is not required.

The projects by Bai Shan Lin (BSL) International Forest Develop Inc involves the construction of a wood processing facility and ship-building operation at Fitz Hope on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway and the construction of an exhibition centre at Providence, East Bank Demerara.

Previously, Commis-sioner of Forests James Singh had told Stabroek News that BSL had acquired 200 acres of swamp land at Conception, Region 10 on which to build a wood processing facility. It was expected that before the end of last year, the company would have commenced construction for a 2015 completion.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud had said that BSL has guaranteed that the majority of logs harvested would be for local processing since its planned wood processing facility would need a steady supply. According to the minister, the wood processing facility will be in operation come 2015.

Singh, in May, said that the site clearing process and constructing of an access road had begun with machinery already “on the ground and operational.” These, according to him, includes seven dump trucks, a skidder, five bulldozers, three loaders, two cranes and excavators in addition to equipment being rented. By July 2013 construction machinery such as concrete mixers and steel framing for the factory will be imported, Singh had said.

In describing the Wood Processing Factory, he said that it would be an integrated factory beginning with lumber intake and the result would be large scale production of high end furniture.

It is envisioned that the factory will also undertake processing of over 80% of BSL’s leased concessions. From GFC research on lesser used species of woods, additional products can also be produced, he stated.

Bai Shan Lin last year announced a US$100 million investment plan to develop its holdings in Guyana, which include a forest concession of 960,000 hectares, a 20-kilometre river gold mining concession, a 5 km2 construction area for a Guyana-China Timber Industry Economic and Trading Co-operation Park and 400-acres land for real estate development.

BSL controls almost one million acres of forests after taking controlling interest in a number of small forest companies with concessions. Its subsidiary companies are Karlam South America Timbers (Guyana) Inc., Haimorakabra Logging Company Inc., Sherwood Forest Inc., Wood Associates Industries Ltd and Kwebanna Wood Products Inc.

Persaud had said that BSL had access to three concessions where full-scale harvesting operations were being undertaken through legal joint venture arrangements.

He explained that while the company had direct access to 83,307 hectares, it also had legitimate access via State Forest Exploratory Permits (SFEPs) to 345,865 hectares.

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