Aurora Gold denies bringing in scores of Chinese workers; ditching local contractors

AGM Inc., Peter Benny,

The new management of Guyana’s biggest gold mining operations has denied that it is bringing in more than 200 Chinese workers.

AGM’s Director of Corporate Office, Compliance and Government Relations AGM Inc., Peter Benny,  denies news report.

The company also denied it has sidelined locals and will be utilizing the service of the Chinese contractor here to move mining materials and be part of the operations.

The issue was reported by Kaieteur News over the weekend.     

The Private Sector Commission (PSC), a business body, wrote President Irfaan Ali over the weekend asking that he intervene.

Aurora Gold Mine (AGM) was taken over by Chinese-owned Zijin Mining Group Company last month. It was started up by a Canadian company, Guyana Goldfields Inc, with commercial production started in 2016.

According to the letter from the PSC to the president, AGM has applied to bring in over 200 Chinese workers for that Region Seven mine, the biggest gold mining operations in Guyana.

The Region Seven mining pit of Aurora Gold Mine

In the meantime, several local contractors who were working with previous Canadian owners, were not rehired. Between them, almost 300 workers have been affected.

The PSC said that the issue is one concerning local content.

A number of the companies have hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment lying idle.

In calling for the President to intervene, the PSC pointed out that the country stands to lose millions of dollars in revenue as well as local employees losing jobs.

Kaieteur News was told that another major Chinese company, China Harbour Engineering Company, which ran into trouble with the construction of the US$150M Timehri airport, had been earmarked for taking over the contracts.

The contracts which locals lose out on include transporting of fuel and explosives, food, hydrated lime, trucking and the stripping of the soil, haulage of water, and stripping in the open pit.

However, this week, AGM’s Director of Corporate Office, Compliance and Government Relations AGM Inc., Peter Benny, in a letter to the PSC, refuted the content of the PSC’s letter.

“The Management of AGM Inc. has noticed an article appearing in both the Sunday Edition of Kaieteur News dated September 20, 2020 and the Monday Edition of the Daily Stabroek News dated September 21, 2020,” Benny said, classifying it as erroneous and with some degree of libel for claiming that AGM was in the process of hiring 200 Chinese nationals to work at the company’s operation using a local Chinese contractor.

“It also stated that the company in pursuit of this action “ditched” the services of local contractors who once performed these duties, and that the information regarding the above was presented to these two media houses by the Private Sector Commission and or its member(s).”

According to the official, the information is “totally” untrue and that at no time did the commission enquire from the company if these allegations were true prior to making such a complaint.

“AGM values its association with these organizations and have worked wholeheartedly for their success. It is therefore very surprising and disturbing that this private business body has unfortunately been placed into the limelight of a supposedly hoax and fake news. Whilst at the same time, tarnishing the name of the company and its newly appointed Management.”

AGM, moreover, has called on the PSC to investigate this matter and if possible, distance itself from the article and those whose name has been associated with it. AGM ran into financial problems and was eventually sold to the Chinese buyer.
The company has been planning, under the Canadians, to venture into underground mining, the first for the country.

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Comments

  • kamtanblog  On September 25, 2020 at 4:57 am

    All natural resources belongs to the guyanese
    residents/people. El presidente
    “charity begins at home”…
    Let the people develop them with help/encouragement of politicians/government.
    Interest free soft loans !
    Don’t use it loose it policy.
    Not rocket science.
    No if or buts !

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