in Guyana

Pinnacle Green Resources’ plans for Guyana: Green development or a land grab?

A company called Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Limited is planning to develop bioenergy plantations and a biomass plant in Guyana. Is this green development? Or a land grab?

According to an article in the Kaieteur News, Pinnacle Green Resources is planning to invest US$30 million in Guyana. (Stabroek News put the figure at US$35 million.)

The plans include the following:

  • A 2,023 hectare plantation in Pomeroon of Leucaena leucocephala (known in Guyana as “Jumbie Bean”).
  • A US$16.5 million wood pellet mill to export 200 tons a day to Sweden, using timber from the Leucaena plantation. Before the plantation produces any wood, the mill will use “species of wood that are not sought as timber species”, and waste wood from logging operations.
  • A biomass plant that will generate 8MW of electricity using bagasse, paddy husk, and waste wood from the logging and sawmilling industry.
  • An “activated carbon” plant that will use coconut shells as raw material. Activated carbon is used in the process of gold extraction.

Pinnacle Green Resources has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Guyana for the projects. In return, IAST has a 5% equity stake in the Guyanese subsidiary of the company and will head the board of directors of Pinnacle Green Resources Guyana Ltd.

Here’s a short news item from Capitol News about the projects:

In a letter published in the Kaieteur News and the Stabroek News, Janette Bulkan of the University of British Columbia questioned the company’s expertise in biomass production, and whether Leucaena was a suitable biomass tree to be planted in the Pomeroon region of Guyana.

Bulkan’s letter includes a list of “four additional examples of land grabs that proposed tree plantations of species that will not grow in Guyana’s hinterland soils”.

In response, Manu Bansal, the executive director of Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana), thanked Bulkan for her letter and offered “to extend to her and any other concerned Guyanese, out collaboration in answering your questions”.

Who is behind Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana)?

Bansal provided some background about Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Ltd:

  • Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) is 100% owned by Pinnacle Green Resources Ptd. Ltd. (Singapore). Bansal describes it as a “Special Purpose Vehicle” that was incorporated in 2013, “to enter into the GREEN business sector in Guyana”.
  • Pinnacle Green Resources Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) was incorporated in 2012. It is 100% owned by Pinnacle Commodities (Asia) Limited and is also a Special Purpose Vehicle, according to Bansal, “to enter into GREEN businesses around the world”.
  • Pinnacle Commodities (Asia) Limited was incorporated in 2007 in Hong Kong. Its shareholders are Kuldip Kumar Gupta, Manish Gupta, and Rajnish Gupta. These three are in turn part of the Gupta family-owned Beekay Group.
  • The Beekay Group is “a highly diversified group, having operations in steel, beverages, construction, energy, chemicals, etc., with global reach”.

Bansal provides links to four websites associated with the Beekay Group. They reveal what looks like a large Indian industrial corporation. But the word “Pinnacle” appears on none of them.

Pinnacle: Not on the internet

There is a company registered in Singapore called Pinnacle Green Resources Pte. Ltd. It was registered on 15 December 2012 under the number 201005066G, and it was previously known as Capital Commodities Pte. Ltd.

Pinnacle Green Resources Pte. Ltd.’s website doesn’t provide us with any further information. Here it is (in full):

pinnaclegreen

The website was registered in July 2012. A technical contact email address is given at BSBK Ltd., the civil and structural construction division of the Beekay Group.

A company called Pinnacle Commodities (Asia) Limited was registered in Hong Kong on 10 December 2007. In almost seven years of operation, the company appears not to have set up a website, and managed not to appear anywhere on the internet until Bansal’s letter to the Stabroek News.

But Bansal has an answer for this:

We can assure the public that simply because an internet search does not yield companies with the name Pinnacle that are obviously involved in the areas of investment we have proposed in Guyana, that does not mean we do not have the experience, the personnel, the demonstrated capacity and the financing to back our investments.

Bansal writes that Dr Rajneesh Mehra is “one of the principal officers and drivers behind Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana)”. Mehra was a Managing Director in an Indian waste management company called A2Z Infrastructure (P) Limited. According to Bansal, Mehra “left A2Z to pursue opportunities of his own”.

Bansal doesn’t say when Mehra left A2Z, but in August 2014, he spoke to The Times of India as CEO of the A2Z group. And he’s still listed on a couple of A2Z websites as working for the company.

Bansal claims that Mehra has established the following companies: Purab Infrastructure Projects Limited, Purab Urja (P) Limited and First Agrobiz (P) Limited.

It seems perhaps strange that Mehra would leave his position as director of a large Indian firm for a series of companies where Google searches for Mehra and the company names don’t reveal anything much.

(I’ve written to A2Z to ask whether Mehra still works for A2Z, and will post an update when I receive a reply.)

Hostile, adversarial, aggressive and accusative

In a follow up letter to the Starbroek News, Janette Bulkan questions whether the wood pellets project can compete economically with pellets exported from the USA to Europe. She also raises further questions about the suitability of growing Leuceana trees in Pomeroon.

Bulkan’s second letter seems to have irritated Bansal. In a response published in the Starbroek News Bansal describes Bulkan’s first letter as “hostile” and “adversarial” and her second letter as “aggressive”, “accusatory”, and based on “spurious and unfounded speculations”.

Gone are any offers of “collaboration in answering your questions”. Bansal declines to discuss further anything to do with the proposed projects in Guyana:

We have made our decisions and are complying with our requirements and henceforth shall treat any such aspersions as interesting reading unless in our opinion it constitutes damage to our reputation in which case we shall take the requisite business actions recommended by our board of directors.

At the end of his first response to Bulkan, Bansal gave his email address and wrote that, “Copies of all of our agreements with the Guyanese Government can be procured by simply requesting same.”

REDD-Monitor wrote to Bansal requesting copies of the agreements a week ago. I’m still waiting for a response.
 

Leave a Reply