Saw milling: Simon and Shock’s US$18.7M forest project requires environmental study
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says a sawmilling project by Simon and Shock International – a timber company – requires an Environmental Impact Assessment before a permit can be granted for the operations to go ahead. The operation is to take place in the Upper Essequibo-Corentyne-North Rupununi District.
In a notice in the press yesterday, the EPA said, “In keeping with the Environmental Protection Act, No. 11, 1996, an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for this logging and sawmilling project before any decision to approve or reject this project is taken, since this development may have significant impacts on the environment.”
The notice said members of the public can make written submissions to the EPA within 28 days of yesterday’s notice, setting out those questions and matters which they require to be answered or considered in the EIA.
The project comprises two operational phases. Phase One involves the forestry operations which entail the extraction of timber, felling, stumping, the construction of roads, skid trails, bridges, culverts camps with other ancillary facilities, and the construction of a wharf at Linden. Phase Two focuses on the transportation of lumber to the processing facility at Annai, Region Nine, where kiln-drying, furniture manufacturing and further processing will take place.
According to the project summary that the EPA provided, the project will be solely financed by Dark Forest Company Pte Limited, with a proposed total investment of approximately US$18.7M up to 2015. The life of the project is 25 years, the summary said.
It said that during the pre-harvest phase of the operation, employment by the company is expected to be in the vicinity of 45 personnel. However, this figure will be drastically increased to 321 persons once harvesting and processing activities commence, the summary said.
According to the summary, logging will occur within the 391,853 hectares (968,289 acres) concession, and all activities will be done in accordance with the requirements of the GFC, including the Code of Practice for Forest Operations.
The summary said for the first five years, logging will be conducted in the North Rewa and Middle Rewa Compartments of Part A of the concession.
It said some primary processing will be done within the concession, utilizing chain saws and portable mills. “A permanent facility will be established at Annai to assist with further processing. The materials will then be transported along the Linden – Lethem Road to Georgetown, for shipping to overseas markets,” the summary said.
According to the summary, the main purpose of this logging operation within the concession is to secure raw materials needed for the sawmilling operation and other downstream processing plants in the manufacture of high quality tropical hardwood furniture.
“This project is designed to produce top quality air and kiln-dried and dressed lumber for world class furniture manufacturing and building construction projects. The main goal is to revolutionise the local lumber market by providing dimensional wood stock ready for the production line. The bulk of the production, initially, will be exported to India, other Asian countries and Caribbean markets,” the summary said.