The Fortunes of Bauxite – Part 1 – History

The Fortunes of Bauxite – Part 1 – History

By Dmitri Allicock  – for Guyanese Online

Read complete article: THE FORTUNES OF BAUXITE- HISTORY – Part 1

For 100 years Bauxite dominated the lives of the people in the Upper Demerara River. The town of Linden is synonymous with bauxite. The discovery of bauxite in the Demerara shaped every aspect of a family’s life. The community grew from a small and sparsely populated one to become the second largest town in Guyana.

Bauxite is not a rare mineral. Over eight per cent of the earth’s crust is composed of bauxite. It is mined only in areas with access to mechanical transport. Though the large deposit of bauxite at Linden was costly to mine, the cost was offset by the fact that Guyana’s bauxite is exceptionally rich in quality.

HISTORY OF BAUXITE

Bauxite was found at Christianburg and discussed as early as 1860 before its full potential was realized. Interest in this ore peaked as aluminum became of age.  

In 1897, Sir Henry Harrison collected samples of the ore at Christianburg and Akyma and had it analyzed in Georgetown.

The results were not published until June 16, 1910 in the Colony Official Gazette[1]. Deposits of bauxite occur in a belt along the southern margin of the Coastal Plain of Guyana. The bauxite was formed from the underlying Pre-Cambrian bedrock during a mid-Tertiary weathering episode. Once the facts were established, mining companies began to show interest. 1n 1912, Geologist George Bain Mackenzie[2] was visiting the area and collected samples of the ore for testing. In 1914, he bought lands for Alcoa in the area now known as Mackenzie.

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