Pinnacle Green Resources’ research has shown that this biomass plant is suitable for local climate, Pomeroon soils

Dear Editor,

Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. notes the letter written by Assistant Professor Janette Bulkan, University of British Columbia, Canada, regarding our proposed investments in Guyana (SN 15/10/14). We wish to state that the company is quite happy to release information regarding itself and its activities in Guyana (and indeed around the world) to anyone that requests that information, particularly concerned Guyanese. The letter writer has provided us the opportunity to highlight the areas of concerns raised, and whilst we would have been equally pleased to provide this information in response to a polite request, we seek your indulgence in allowing us to publicly provide some information regarding our company, its antecedents, and our proposed investments in Guyana.

Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc.

  1. Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. is 100% owned by Pinnacle Green Resources Pte. Ltd. (Singapore). Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. is a specifically incorporated Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), incorporated in 2013 to enter into the GREEN business sector in Guyana.
  2. Pinnacle Green Resources Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) is 100% owned by Pinnacle Commodities (Asia) Limited, Hong Kong. This Special Purpose Vehicle was specifically incorporated in 2012 to enter into GREEN businesses around the world.
  3. Pinnacle Commodities (Asia) Limited, Hong Kong was incorporated in 2007 and has the following shareholders, each having 1/3rd equity contribution:
  4. Mr. Kuldip Kumar Gupta
  5. Mr. Manish Gupta
  6. Mr. Rajnish Gupta
  7. These 3 shareholders are a part of the Beekay Group, which is owned by the larger Gupta family.

The Beekay Group is a highly diversified group, having operations in steel, beverages, construction, energy, chemicals, etc., with global reach. We attach a PDF file which describes some of the Beekay Group’s activities and partnerships and encourage you to distribute these to your readership if you feel this is warranted.

Whilst members of the public and some academics do resort to internet searches to do financial research and research into companies, we wish to advise the public that this is not the best forum to do so, as there are many companies with similar names and many highly successful and respectable companies that do not even have a website. There are well-known financial enquiry services that can be used to research companies; resorting to casting aspersions on companies simply because of an imperfect or mis-informed search is not fair nor is it in the best interests of any nation. Some of the websites associated with the Beekay Group are: www.bsbkltd.com, www.mbl.in, www.beekaycorp.com and www.biltech.co.in.

In addition to the shareholders of the company, Dr. Rajneesh Mehra is one of the principal officers and drivers behind Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. Dr Mehra brings a world-recognized reputation in converting waste to energy. He was the Managing Director and CEO of A2Z Infrastructure (P) Limited, focussed on waste management. After successfully growing A2Z into India’s largest and the world’s third largest waste management company in terms of volume of waste managed and volume of people served, and in the process becoming a household name in India and around the world in waste management and waste to energy, Dr. Mehra left A2Z to pursue opportunities of his own, and developed companies in biomass based power generation, sustainable mechanized corporate farming, and associated waste management. His companies are Purab Infrastructure Projects Limited (conversion of waste biomass to energy and energy plantation cultivation), Purab Urja (P) Limited (conversion of waste biomass to energy and energy plantation cultivation), and First Agrobiz (P) Limited, which is focussed on the farming of greater than 2000 acres of energy biomass plantation.

We can assure the public that simply because an internet search does not yield companies with the name Pinnacle that are obviously involved in the areas of investment we have proposed in Guyana, that does not mean we do not have the experience, the personnel, the demonstrated capacity and the financing to back our investments. We encourage real, valid and approved searches to be done on the names of the companies we have provided.

Leucaena leucocephala

Soil Types

This plant grows well in soil which is slightly acidic; pH’s as low as 4.8 have been shown to be suitable for prolific growth, although the plant is often found naturalized in environments where pH is around 5.2 or slightly greater. To suggest that the plant requires alkaline soils to grow to an economic size is simply not correct. To remind the public, alkaline pH values are above a pH of 7. A direct quotation from a compilation of scientific reports on forage legumes (H.M. Shelton and J.L. Brewbaker, Leucaena leucocephala – The Most Widely Used Forage Tree Legume, in Forage Tree Legumes in Tropical Agriculture, eds. R.G. Gutteridge and H.M. Shelton, Tropical Grassland Society of Australia Inc., 1998, Chapter 2, ISBN 0-9585677-1-9) claims; “it [Leucaena leucocephala] grows on a wide variety of soil types including mildly acid soils (pH > 5.2).” Even a cursory search on a non-scientific search engine such as “Google” would ascertain, due to the wide number of studies that have been conducted on this species, that an alkaline soil is not required. The soil in the area of the Pomeroon where we have been investigating in conjunction with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission has an upper layer of thin organic matter followed by a 20 inch layer of peat and acid sulphate. The pH in this area is generally around 4 (information supplied by NAREI). Given our experience in growing energy plantations, we have already ascertained that we shall need to bring this pH value up to around 4.8, but we know exactly how to accomplish this with the application of lime. In addition, in our aerial and on-foot surveys of this proposed land for cultivation, we encountered prolific stands of coconut growing. Coconuts are well-known to grow in soils similar in pH to Leucaena, and these trees are growing prolifically even without the benefit of lime addition. Furthermore, the addition of lime has been taken into consideration in our business plan. We are perplexed at why anyone would think that we wish to “land grab” land that clearly has languished undeveloped for decades, and why, if the land is so unsuitable for cultivation, would we want to “grab” it in the first instance. We wish to inform the public that our MOU with Go Invest stipulates standard lease rates in Guyana. We can also assure you that we have not been successful as a company by leasing land which is not useful to us and waiting for someone to come along and somehow compensate us for leasing land that has not been leased for many decades, if ever. Editor, primary agriculture in countries such as Guyana is risky business; it requires large injections of capital and one can still face many unknown challenges – related to fertilizer price fluctuations, climate changes, pests, etc. And also, whether or not one can grow the crops one wishes to, with the yields that one would prefer. Incidentally, this is exactly the same problems faced by your current sugar and rice industries, and Guyanese seem to have been able to grow sugar and rice for many decades. This business is not without risks, but it is not without reward, either.

Climate

Leucaena leucocephala is a tropical plant with a pan-tropical presence. The claim that it requires a dry climate is simply erroneous. There have been specific studies done on this species in Guyana; as recently as 2002, two studies were done on Leucaena as a potential source of plant nutrients in the Intermediate Savannahs of Guyana, and this report was published by CARDI (Leslie A. Simpson and Claudius V. Wikham, The Performance of Leucaena and Glyridida and their potential as sources of plant nutrients in the Intermediate Savannahs of Guyana, in Review: a compilation of CARDI research papers, 2nd Edition, August, 2002 and Leslie A. Simpson and Claudius V. Wikham, The Performance of cowpea, maize and sorghum in an alley cropping trial with Leucaena and Glyricidia in the Intermediate Savannahs of Guyana, in Review: a compilation of CARDI research papers, 2nd Edition, August, 2002). Although in these trials Glyricidia grew more prolifically than Leucaena, there were no problems encountered in growing Leucaena. Furthermore, Leucaena was also specifically recommended for agro-forestry in Guyana in a study published by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture; IICA (Thorwald Geuze and Pauline van den Ende, Agroforestry in Guyana: Guidelines for Establishment and Management of Agroforestry Practices, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, 1996, ISBN: 976-8952-82-1). Leucaena has been specifically recommended for the tropics, for example a joint report in 1977 by the Philippine Council for Agricultural and Resource Research and the United States National Academy of Science, titled “Leucaena: Promising Forage and Tree Crop for the Tropics, heralded significant cultivation of Leucaena in tropical countries, including India where Leucaena is commonly called “Subabool.” Indeed, from our studies, we expect that Leucaena grown in the Pomeroon will provide a fuel wood yield of 30 MT/acre, which is why we required a minimum of 5000 acres of land, because we require 90,000 MT/annum of dry wood to supply our proposed 200 TPD of pellet plant. Additionally, Leucaena is already present in many regions of Guyana, and is also specifically growing prolifically in this tropical climate in acidic peaty soils. Indeed, because of its proliferation in the wild in Guyana, the wild type species of this plant is listed as a potential invasive species in the Guyana Fourth Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/gy/gy-nr-04-en.pdf).

Invasive Potential

Leucaena in the wild poses a threat to biodiversity, as it proliferates, particularly in tropical climates. In Guyana, the wild species is present and is not controlled and can be found in a diversity of areas and a diversity of soils. However, the cultivated species are used in many countries around the world, and worldwide Standard Operating Procedures have been developed for the safe, non-proliferating cultivation of certain sub species of Leucaena, which we shall be using. For example, an exhaustive report done by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Mines of the Queensland Government of Australia (C.S. Walton, Leucaena Leucocephala in Queensland, in the Pest Review Series – Land Protection, published by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland, February 2003, ISBN: 0-7345-2452-8) clearly establishes the best practices and degree of manageable risk associated with the cultivation of this species. Another website which provides guidelines on the safe and non-proliferating cultivation of Leucaena is http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/67259/IPA-Leucaena-Codes-Practice.pdf.   Leucaena seeds through a pod. The pod dehisces and releases a much heavier than air seed immediately below itself. Because the seed is not dispersible by air, it does not travel very far and thus does not proliferate to even small distances. This is why wherever there is a Leucaena plant it is always present in bunches. One plant is originally grown and a bunch develops later around the original plant. This is why controlled cultivation is possible and safely practised in so many countries in the world. One can physically ensure that the plant does not go beyond the defined boundaries of the farm. Our proposed plantation shall go through all required permits and regulatory processes required by the Guyanese Government, before cultivation is started.

The Institute of Applied Science and Technology

We wish to lastly comment on our collaboration with the Institute of Applied Science and Technology. Firstly, the IAST is not as far as we are aware, an institute expert in agriculture, or cultivation of energy forests, and we did not seek them out for such expertise. We were introduced to the IAST through our enquiries with Go Invest and the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce. We approached the Go Invest to specifically invest in the growing of Leucaena leucocephala or any other suitable energy crop, for the specific purpose of producing energy pellets for export to Europe. Our MOU with Go Invest was completed before we were introduced to the IAST. The Director of IAST, Professor Suresh Narine, provided convincing arguments to Pinnacle’s principals, Mr. Manish Gupta, Mr. Manu Bansal, and Dr. Rajneesh Mehra on the merits of Pinnacle additionally investing in facilities to produce activated carbon from waste coconut shells and for the production of 8 MW/h of electricity from waste biomass already present in Guyana. We were not only impressed by Professor Narine’s cogent arguments, but were immensely impressed by the technologies developed in these and other areas by the Institute. We were also impressed by the state of the art laboratories, pilot facilities, and the competence of the IAST’s staff.   As a foreign company who was convinced by a local institute to invest an additional US$18.5 Million, from the US$16.5 M we already had earmarked for investment, I can assure your readership that we performed careful due diligence. Furthermore, we feel that our access to the IAST’s knowhow, expertise and developed technology warranted providing the Institute a 5% stake in the paid up equity of our entire investment portfolio in Guyana and a prominent place on our board of directors. We operate in many countries around the world, and wish to express our admiration for the unusual level of professionalism, competence and cutting edge science that we witnessed at the IAST. It is an institution of which Guyanese should be proud.

In closing, we would like to thank Dr. Janette Bulkan for raising questions about our proposed investments, and would like to extend to her and any other concerned Guyanese, our collaboration in answering your questions. Copies of all of our agreements with the Guyanese Government can be procured by simply requesting same, to mbansal@pinnaclegreen.sg.

Yours faithfully,
Manu Bansal,
Executive Director
Pinnacle Green Resources
(Guyana) Inc.

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