The government of Guyana said earlier this week that the exploration firm First Bauxite LLC (FBX) is willing to construct an aluminium smelter should it have access to natural gas from offshore deposits.
According to Finance Minister Winston Jordan, harvesting natural gas from undersea hydrocarbon deposits would provide the firm with an inexpensive source for generating the electrical power necessary to run the smelter.
“They said if we can bring natural gas in sufficient quantities, they are prepared to put a smelter right there in Guyana,” said Jordan at a groundbreaking ceremony for an unrelated project at Ogle, East Coast Demerara, earlier this week.
Jordan’s announcement comes during the same week that FBX commissions a new bauxite mine at Bonasika, Upper Demerara River, which he says has impressed the firm with the high quality of bauxite ore found at the site.
“It is the finest bauxite that they have worked with. When you go there, you’ll see it. Superb! Superb! Iron ore-little.”
Though ExxonMobil and the Guyanese government have yet to come to terms on extraction and shipment of the offshore natural gas, Guyana Power and Light recently purchased US$41 million in power generation units that utilize natural gas to produce inexpensive electricity on the Demerara-Berbice interconnected system.
A location near Mahaicony has already been identified as a possible site for the natural gas plant, but ExxonMobil indicates that its current plans for the offshore natural gas is to reinject it into the hydrocarbon deposits in order to maintain pressure needed for bringing crude oil to the surface.
FBX’s wholly-owned subsidiary Guyana Industrial Minerals Inc (GINMIN) conducts mining for the firm, producing 30 thousand metric tons of washed bauxite ore each month.