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The Bauxite Industry

Commercial exploitation of bauxite started in Linden, Guyana some eighty years ago. In 1916 the Demerara Bauxite Company Limited, better known as DEMBA, a subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of Canada Limited, was established with the objective of mining, processing and selling Bauxite.

The site chosen for this preliminary venture was on the Demerara River, about 104 km (65 miles) south of Georgetown, the capital city. At that time there was no settlement in the area, except for the wards of Wismar and Christianburg. Mackenzie, the center of the company's operations, takes its name from an American geologist of Scottish descent, George Bain Mackenzie, who first visited and explored the area for bauxite in 1913. He returned in 1914, bought lands for mining, and built several 45-ton wooden barges for use at the riverside near Three Friends Mine, which was the first mine to be worked.

Bauxite Operations 2006-2007Bauxite Operations 2006-2007Bauxite Operations 2006-2007

Initially, bauxite was mined with shovels and pick axes and mule carts removed overburden. The bauxite was shipped in a crude form by loading it onto barges, which were towed down the river to ships moored midstream off the Georgetown harbor.

Over the years DEMBA established not only the machinery for crushing, sorting, washing, drying, storing and loading the ore that was mined, but also housing facilities for their permanent local and foreign work force. In addition, a complex of ancillary services, including a machine shop, carpentry shop, and an electrical shop a power generation and distribution system, potable water supply and a hospital was developed. The end product of this industrial, social and physical infrastructure was a compact township named Mackenzie, which depended on sources external to the bauxite community for its supply of food and spare parts.

In keeping with its policy of controlling the important sectors of the country's economy, the Government of Guyana nationalized the assets of DEMBA on 15 July 1971, and replaced it with the Guyana Bauxite Company Limited (GUYBAU).

The Bauxite Industry Development Company (BIDCO) was established in 1976, in Georgetown, as the holding Company of the bauxite industry.

A similar act of nationalization, on 1 January 1975, saw the sister company in Berbice - Reynolds Metal Company - becoming the Berbice Mining Enterprise Limited (BERMINE).

With the Government of Guyana as a major shareholder, the move of nationalizing both bauxite entities set the stage for a closely-knit unit.  It was also more economical to coordinate the functions of GUYBAU and BERMINE under one holding.

It further allowed for an arrangement in which financial, material and human resources could be optimally allocated within the bauxite mining and processing activities.

As a result, the two entities were merged in October 1977, under the name of Guyana Mining Enterprise Limited (GUYMINE).  The entities were subdivided into Berbice Operations and Linden Operations.

The Linden Mining Enterprise came into being in June 1992 when the Government signed an order under the Public Corporation Act to dissolve GUYMINE and convert the Berbice Operations and Linden operations into separate entities.

Berbice Operations was reverted to the original name of Berbice Mining Enterprise Limited (BERMINE), and the Linden Operations was renamed Linden Mining Enterprise (LINMINE).

LINMINE was placed under the management of an Australian firm - Mining and Processing Engineers - known as (MINPROC) for three years, 1992 to 1995 MINPROC’S primary role was to return the company to a state of profitability.

Concomitant with the signing of the order was the Government's agreement to assume the financial liabilities of GUYMINE'S Linden Operations.

In 2004 OMAI Bauxite Co was formed to take over the operations of Linmine and continued to operate until mid 2007 when control was passed onto a Chinese owned company BOSAI Minerals Inc