Guyana Government ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ As US Sanctions on Parent Company of Local Bauxite Operation to Be Lifted

Government is looking forward to an improved situation in the bauxite industry with sanctions on RUSAL being lifted.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday December 21, 2018 – The Ministry of Natural Resources says it is “cautiously optimistic” after the Donald Trump administration said it was ready to remove the sanctions on the Russian-owned and world’s second-largest aluminium company RUSAL, which is the majority owner of Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI).

The move, expected to take effect in 30 days unless it is blocked by the United States (US) Congress, would reduce the threat of hundreds of job losses in the bauxite sector in Guyana, the government said.

The US Treasury yesterday said it will lift sanctions on the core empire of Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, including RUSAL, after an agreement was met to significantly reduce his stakes. The sanctions were imposed in April on Deripaska, RUSAL, and other companies in which Deripaska owned shares, citing “malign activities”. Deripaska himself will remain under sanctions.

“The Government of Guyana and the Ministry of Natural Resources are cautiously optimistic, and happy, with this recent development of the matter of the US Government sanctions instituted against RUSAL, heading towards resolution; thus, further ensuring that the jobs of the local workforce will not be in jeopardy,” the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement after the US announcement.

“The Ministry has been monitoring this unfolding saga for several months, and making necessary interventions, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has provided quiet diplomatic support, and is pleased that following a series of extensions that led to the postponement of the enforcement of the sanctions, a permanent and favourable resolution is in sight.”

RUSAL owns 90 per cent of the Berbice-based BCGI. It employs over 500 people at its operations, most of them Guyanese.

RUSAL, in a statement, said it would do everything necessary to return the company to regular working conditions.

Click here to receive news via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)