British Trade Mission Interested in Basalt Fiber Factory, Silica City


A top team of UK companies are looking for investment opportunities here, including the government’s Silica City project.

The team arrived in Guyana on Monday and had a series of meetings with President Irfaan Ali and his cabinet as well as local business agencies to lay the groundwork for promoting their interests. The visit is expected to conclude today and would see the nine entities – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Concrete Canvas, Dar Group, Grover Applied Intelligence, Nectar Group Ltd, One True Maverick (OTM) Vodka, Shakespeare Pharma, Signature Litigation , and Woollard & Henry Ltd – back in the UK to build on the links they have created.

The High Level Trade Mission with British High Commissioner Jane Miller, Caribbean Council Director General Chris Bennett and GCCI Chairman Timothy Tucker

At a press conference yesterday at the Marriott Hotel, company representatives all expressed their interest in making their presence known in the local market. They noted that although the talks are preliminary, there are prospects worth pursuing as Guyana is on the verge of stunning economic growth.

So far, Woollard & Henry Ltd, which provides services in several sectors including the basalt and fiberglass sector, has expressed interest in pursuing the establishment of a factory in Guyana. Additionally, the Dar Group delegation expressed their desire to help in the development of Silica City – the government’s smart city project while the OTM considers collaboration on the rum front.

city ​​of silica

Silica City is billed as a secondary town and is slated for the Linden-Soesdyke Freeway in an effort to reduce the burden on Georgetown. It was conceptualized in 2013 when President Ali was Minister of Housing and Water.

During his presentation of the 2022 budget, the current Housing Minister, Collin Croal, explained that 3,800 acres of land have been set aside for the new town and that the first phase should begin this year. He told the National Assembly that the city would be a smart city powered by renewable energy, among other climate-friendly features.

Speaking to the press after yesterday’s briefing, Dar Group chief executive Andrew Loudon said he had had general discussions with the government about the Silica City project and ways to get involved.

Based on its business portfolio, “Dar Group is a multi-disciplinary international network of professional services firms comprised of over 19,000 employees supporting clients in more than 100 countries around the world. We are dedicated to the planning, design, engineering and project management of facilities, facilities and structures that contribute to the sustainable advancement of communities around the world. We have the capability and experience to tailor this full range of design, management and business services to a wide range of clients, sectors, climates and cultures.

Loudon said they were looking in particular at the planning aspect of the project, as they have done in other parts of the world.

“So our expertise is trying to see how you can really develop a really smart project… some projects are developed and very often they are not established correctly. So we’re looking to make sure that you know the projects are well put together and can deliver what they want to achieve,” he said.

He added that the Silica City project is ambitious and would require the best expertise.

basalt fiber factory

It is said that basalt fiber is composed in the same way as fiberglass and is much stronger. Woollard & Henry Ltd sales manager Stuart Robinson told reporters they were now considering how to go about setting up a factory in Guyana. He reported that in his meetings with the government, he sold the idea that basalt fibers woven into rebar could easily reduce reliance on steel in the construction industry.

“You can also use it in various carpets but other types of concrete laying and where the fibers can also be woven into a kind of very tight weave they can be used for insulation and things like aerospace industry and other fields. So (there are) a number of applications for basalt fiber, but for here in Guyana we see the massive growth in infrastructure (and) it’s going to be able to replace steel or use basalt as a counterpart to l steel with its non-corrosive properties,” he said.

He further stated that the fibers are lightweight and easy to handle. He added that the market demand looks tempting.

“…we think it’s a desire to have something like this in the country and so far this week and very early this week we’ve felt very positive about it. So yeah, we think there’s a need to have something like this in the country and we think he wants to put it in there as well, so our next task is really to see how we can make it happen,” Robertson said.

The quarry salesman added that he sold the idea to the government and other companies who all seem eager for such a product to hit the market.

Open for business

The British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller, said it’s clear Guyana is open for business by the level of commitment the team has enjoyed. She added that UK businesses bring a different degree of quality and sustainability to the local market and that working with the local private sector would only seek to improve the supply of goods and services locally.

“The UK is really keen to see opportunities that we can partner with to really see economic growth happen and really make a difference in the lives of all Guyanese. So it’s a really exciting time,” said High Commissioner Miller.

As more UK businesses come to invest in Guyana, Miller also said she would keep an eye on the procurement process, noting this is an area that has grown with capacity building. of the government. When asked if there were any concerns about the procurement process in Guyana, Miller said that so far she had been told this was an area where skills needed to be developed.

She said she was confident UK businesses would be given a fair chance in the procurement process.

“This country is growing incredibly fast. The resources are gigantic and as you say, transparency is so important. So that’s an area that I think I’m building on,” she said.

Meanwhile, Caribbean Council chief executive Chris Bennett said the companies have listened to the needs of government and the private sector and are willing to work together. He added that they were also paying close attention to the ongoing review of the 2022 budget and finding areas for investment.

“What we hear is what Guyana wants for its next stage of development, these are products and services that are driven by quality, efficiency and sustainability and these are all values ​​that I think, are synonymous with British goods and services and British pride. on these values ​​for many years.

“We listened to the budget debates as well as the exciting investment projects in all sorts of different areas of the Guyanese economy. Some of the companies around this table, I think, can potentially play a very useful role in driving these plans, helping to implement them faster, more efficiently, more cost-effectively, and potentially in a way that reduces the carbon impact too,” Bennett said.

He added that they are exploring investment opportunities in the digital economy, hydropower and human capital, among others. Additionally, he said a high-level team from Guyana would visit the UK in the coming months to deepen the collaboration and look at areas where they could invest.

Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Timothy Tucker was also present at the briefing where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Caribbean Council for further collaboration on trade facilitation. investments between Guyana and the United Kingdom.

During an interview with the high-level team, President Ali indicated that Guyana considers various interests in its economy and welcomes investment from all.


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