Washington, D.C., March 9, 2006
— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the
World Bank Group, has bought shares worth $4.7 million in Guyana Goldfields
Inc., a Canadian mining company with a gold exploration program in Guyana.
IFC’s first mining investment in the country will encourage sustainable
business practices, promote local economic development, and facilitate
partnerships between civil society and private enterprise.
The financing will support exploration activities, environmental and social
impact assessments, and the commercial and technical assessment in the
early stages of the project’s development. IFC will also assist
the company in establishing an integrated environmental, health, safety,
and social management system, in line with both World Bank Group standards
and international best practices.
Guyana Goldfields is publicly listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“We are delighted to partner with Guyana Goldfields in an investment that
helps Guyana develop valuable mineral resources in an environmentally and
socially responsible way,” said Rashad Kaldany, IFC’s director for oil,
gas, mining and chemicals. He added, “We are excited to work with a company
that shares our commitment to sustainable development.”
“We are pleased to see IFC’s support and confidence in the project. The
partnership with the IFC recognizes our mutual commitment to social responsibility
and will benefit the region,” said Patrick Sheridan, president and chief
executive officer of Guyana Goldfields.
“This financing fits with IFC’s strategy in Guyana to support the private
sector in growth generating sectors of the economy, including mining,”
IFC’s Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Atul Mehta, noted.
Extractive industries are an important component of the Guyanese economy.
Between 2000 and 2004, gold and bauxite mining contributed about
10 percent of the country’s GDP and about 25 percent of the country’s
total export proceeds were from gold.
The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the
World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates
its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but
is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries
provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve
people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing
world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps
clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical
assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding
in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own
funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140
developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was
$19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants
in loan syndications. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.