Chinese company seeking to log on former Barama concession

Chinese company, Rong-An Inc  has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for authorization to undertake logging and sawmilling operations straddling  Regions One and Seven.

According to an advertisement in Thursday’s edition of Stabroek News, the EPA said that the company has submitted an application for the authorization to undertake the development of a sustainable logging and sawmilling operation which will be located within the State Forest Authorisation – State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFA-SFEP: 01/2017).

The ad explained that the company wants to take up operation on the right bank of the Barama River, left bank of the Enamu Creek, right bank of the Aunama River, left bank of the Cuyuni River. The forest concession comprises a total area of 417,809.23 hectares and was previously held by Barama Company Limited (BCL).

The project would entail, but would not be limited to, works consisting of the construction of primary and secondary roads and log harvesting and transport from the Concession to the company’s Buck Hall location.

The timber will then be shipped from Buck Hall to various points for sale or processing. The advertisement also stated that the company also outlined the possibility of establishing a sawmilling operation or veneering plant at Buck Hall.

Since the project can have various environmental implications, the EPA said that in keeping with the Environmental Protection Act, Cap. 20:05, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required for the development of the proposed project before any decision to either reject or approve it can be made.

As a result, members of the public are invited to make written submissions to the EPA setting out questions and matters they would like to see addressed in the EIA within 28 days of when the notice was published.

A summary of the project can also be viewed on the EPA’s website or uplifted at the Office in Ganges Street, Sophia.

In February of 2016, Region Ten Chairman Renis Morian had objected to proposed plans by  Rong-An Inc to undertake large-scale logging in the Berbice area.“We gon resist it at all levels,” he told Stabroek News, saying that the company should have approached the Chairman and Regional Democratic Council as a first step.

Rong-An had applied to the EPA for an environmental authorisation to undertake large-scale logging in Berbice in an investment pegged at US$20 million. The concession area was in Region Six.

Morian said he knows that the company is also present in Region Ten and pointed out that the Berbice River is contiguous to Region Ten. “I am aware that they are in Region Ten,” he asserted. He said that Lindeners cannot get two acres of land while the company has over 50 000 acres of land.

In August last year, the Guyana Forestry Commission  awarded two lots totaling over 800,000 hectares of the former BCL concession to R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill and Rong-An Inc. It expects a total investment of US$9.5 million by 2020 and the creation of 524 jobs when the operations are at full scale.

Rong-An Inc. was incorporated in Guyana on September 1, 2006.

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