This year marks 100 years of bauxite mining in Guyana and industry experts plan to explore ways to diversify processing of the ore.
Chairman of the Bauxite Centenary Board Horace James
Chairman of the Bauxite Century Board, Horace James, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) in an interview today, that a panel discussion exploring the potential of bauxite over the next 100 years is part of a week-long list of activities scheduled to mark the centennial of bauxite mining in Guyana. “The symposium will just glance back at the history but more or less try to see what role bauxite may have to play in the next hundred years. The question will be how we utilise the bauxite,” James told GINA.
James said there are opportunities and scope for further development of the industry. He hopes that in the next 100 years there will be other products coming from bauxite. “It is believed that Guyana is capable of producing some 350 million tonnes of bauxite. But, generating sufficient electricity and diversifying productions are the biggest challenges facing the industry,” James said.
Bauxite mining in Guyana officially began in October 1916 at Three Friends Mine, 10 miles outside of McKenzie, Region 10. It was being done by the newly incorporated Demerara Bauxite Company.
The refractory grade mineral made significant contributions to the Second World War and Guyana’s economy at the height of its production. One hundred years later, at least four different grades of the mineral are mined and processed but Guyana no longer processes the ore into alumina. Currently, the Bauxite Company of Guyana (BCGI) and Bosai Bauxite Company are the two bauxite companies in the industry today.
Meanwhile, the erection of an arch in Linden will be a focal activity of the centennial observation. While there is a bauxite belt across Guyana, Region 10 has the highest concentration of the mineral.
Plans are also in place for the release of a magazine highlighting the history, role and culture of bauxite in the development of Linden as a town and to Guyana’s GDP. There will also be the launch of commemorative stamps and education awareness programmes targeted to young people.