I am normally hesitant, these days, to comment on anything associated with Guyana bauxite. However, I am finding it difficult to restrain myself from making a comment on the developing scenario with Bosai since I think Bosai is poking fun at the Guyanese public with what they are proposing as their development plan for Linden. What surprises me is that we have qualified and experienced individuals at high levels in the country who ought to know that Bosai’s proposed plan for Block 37 (assuming they really had a serious plan) is not technically or economically feasible.
What I have been reading in the press and hearing on radio and television is that Bosai planned to utilize Block 37 bauxite for the production of mullite and proppants.
I would be surprised if Bosai is unaware that you cannot produce mullite with bauxite containing 58-60% alumina and 4-5% silica. I am sure also, that they are patently aware that while some of Block 37 bauxite could be suitable for production of the raw material for proppants, it would require very selective mining to find material with the appropriate iron content.
In any case, even with the explosion of world demand for proppants due to the increase in fracking in the oil and gas industries, a host of lower grade alumino silicate materials, including silica, bauxitic clays and relatively cheap lower grade bauxites are in current use and quite adequate for the production of proppants, hence the share of that market they may be able to capture could hardly economically justify the development of a deposit like Block 37.
In this regard, I must commend the Minister for his stance that Block 37 must be considered only in the context of an alumina refinery; my only concern is the narrow focus on Block 37, when immediately adjacent to that Block we have Tiger Jump and Arawa with estimated reserves of 50 and 25 million tonnes respectively with bauxite of similar grade to that in Block 37 – enough bauxite to keep one of today’s minimum economic size alumina refinery (1.5 million tonnes per year), operating for 60 years.