LINMINE – Bauxite Country
“Linden is the second largest town in Guyana after Georgetown. It was declared a town in 1970, and includes the communities of MacKenzie and Wismar. It lies on the Demerara River and has a population of roughly 29,298 (Bureau of Statistics, Population and Housing Census – 2002, GUYANA). It is primarily a bauxite mining town, containing many mines 60–90 metres deep, with many other pits now in disuse.
“Commercial bauxite mining started in Linden, eighty years ago. In 1916 the Demerara Bauxite Company Limited, 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, 105 kilometres (65 mi) south of the capital city Georgetown. At that time there was no settlement in the area, except for the wards of Wismar, Guyana 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.
“Initially, bauxite was mined with shovels and pick axes and mule carts removing 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 close-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).
“The three villages that made up Linden were previously known as Wismar-MacKenzie-Christianburg, but was renamed/unified in 1970 as a township under the name Linden by then President Linden Forbes Sampson #Burnham, also known as #Forbes Burnham, after himself.”
Source: Wikipedia, July 2016
Picture: LINMINE, Night Shot, Linden, Guyana