Timber company to invest over US$4M locally
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Map showing the general location of Blocks ‘A’ & ‘B’
Map showing the general location of Blocks ‘A’ & ‘B’

–plans to operate in areas along the Corentyne River

SURICH Forest Guyana Incorporated, a timber harvesting company which has close ties to Malaysia, plans to invest, in two parts, US$4 million to initiate its operations which involve harvesting timber and processing or exporting logs.

The company was incorporated in Guyana in 2015 and acquired a State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP) in March 2020 for two blocks, A and B, along the Corentyne River.
Block A is located on the left bank of the Corentyne River within the Kanakaburi-Mapenna district and has an area of 17,035.68 hectares, while Block B, which has an area of 35,861.55 hectares, is situated on the left bank of the Corentyne River within the Kuruduni-Timehri district.

The immediate plan is to hold Block A in reserve and proceed with the development of Block B. This was determined after a rapid assessment of the variables associated with timber harvesting operations.
“SFGI will only be allowed to harvest an area of 1,042ha (or up to three per cent of the concession area) per annum. In addition, the company will only be allowed to harvest 8.33m3/ha.
“The cycle of events necessary to harvest 1,042ha will be repeated every year. SFGI’s will implement reduced logging principles and practices and abide by national level forest management standards set out in GFC’s Code of Practice, 2018,” Surich outlined in a project summary submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Through its concession, the company plans to harvest timber in line with conditions agreed upon by the Guyana Forestry Commission.  Guyana has an area of 214,970 km2 of which nearly 75 per cent is covered with natural vegetation. Of this area, approximately four-fifths is classified as State Forests under the jurisdiction of the GFC.

The logs harvested by Surich will be conveyed to a log processing facility in Region 10 or Region Four or exported in line with GFC’s export policy.
According to the project summary, the company has linkages in Malaysia which will allow for the full utilisation of local logs through the development of timber products based on the properties of each species.

“However, the company’s preference is to build up a wood processing facility in Guyana. The cost per Kw/hour for electricity is a major deterrent on the local scene, but the company is encouraged by local initiatives to improve the supply and lower the cost of electricity,” Surich said.

The plan for power generation, as outlined by the Government of Guyana, is to have a mix which utilises energy harnessed from water, the sun, wind and from the gas being produced offshore Guyana.

Encouraged by the plans for advancement, Surich intends to move ahead with the operations once approval is granted. The first order of business, as stated by the company, is to verify the boundaries of the concession, validate the topographic conditions and forest stock and review the area designated as the biodiversity reserve.
The second major activity will be the recruitment and training of field operatives and the procurement of appropriate equipment.

“Generally, the project will stimulate the economic development of the Kwakwani-Hururu-Ituni Triangle (KHIT) by providing direct employment opportunities for (male and female) residents of the area, and by purchasing goods and services in those communities.

“From year 2023, SFGI expects to contribute directly to the development of those communities through initiatives linked to its corporate social responsibility programme,” the company related.
Surich also expects to increase the volume of lumber available on the local market and for export. By doing so, it will contribute to an expanded forest industry and foreign exchange earnings.

To ensure that its operations are sustainable and worker-friendly, the company intends to hold regular briefing sessions with field operatives to regularly reinforce the need for adherence to operational standards, including occupational safety and health practices.

“All machines will be kept in satisfactory mechanical condition (in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturers) to reduce excessive exhaust emissions, noise, vibrations and spillage of fuel and oil,” Surich said, noting that it will also ensure there is adequate and applicable signage placed at all workspaces, road corridors and waterways.

The company also committed to setting up at least five permanent monitoring points for the long-term collection of data on air quality and water quality; this will add to efforts geared at preserving the forest and, by extension, the overall ecosystem.

Healthy forests, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), support sustainable agriculture because, among other things, these ecosystems stabilise soils and climate, regulate water flows, and provide shelter and habitat to pollinators and natural predators of agricultural pests.

Forests generate almost one-third of the income of rural families in developing countries, either through monetary income or through satisfying subsistence needs. In Guyana, the forestry sector recorded a decline of 7.1 per cent at the end of the first half of this year compared with the 20.8 per cent contraction one year ago.

Total logs, which account for 75.8 per cent of total production, recorded a marginal increase of 0.5 per cent compared to a 24.2 per cent decline in June 2020.
This outturn was the result of direct and indirect negative impacts on forest concessions, stemming from the recent flooding. Damages to roads and bridges affected transportation to the interior regions and, in turn, access to forest operations, the Bank of Guyana said.

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