Malaysian-Korean logging threat to Guyana

November 13, 1991

Malaysian-Korean logging threat to Guyana

The Guyanese government has just leased more than 1.65 million hectares of forest to a foreign consortium. The logging operation seriously threatens the livelihoods of local communities and the ecology of the rivers and forests of the vast concession area.

The forests, in the country's North-West and Mazaruni districts, have been leased over a period of 25 years to a joint holding company called Barama, which brings together the Korean Company Sun Kyong and the Malaysian Company Samling Timber Sdn. Bhd.

Samling Timber has attracted a great deal of criticism for its operations in Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak). The company is one of the largest logging contractors and timber exporters in the state of Sarawak, where runaway logging is leading to the massive overcutting.

According to the deal signed on October 23, the company will invest some US$50 million in the logging, sawmilling and plywood manufacturing business, creating some 2000 new jobs. The huge complex is to begin within nine months from the signing of the contract, though actual production is not expected until 1993.

The exact boundaries of the vast concession are not yet known but it is believed to include numerous Indian communities. Many of these communities lack clear title to their lands or are in dispute with the government because the areas to which they have acquired legal rights are too small to secure their livelihoods. n
[World Rainforest Movement action alert.]

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