18th Jun 2019

Grande Mayumba and Corà Wood Gabon to form Joint Venture to strengthen Forestry and Timber Businesses

Grande Mayumba and Corà Wood Gabon sign Memorandum of Agreement to join forces on their forestry and timber operations with long-term sustainability at the core of their business vision.

Libreville, 18 June 2019 – The joint venture will employ cutting edge technology to redefine the way forestry and timber operations are conducted in Gabon and the Congo Basin, reducing the impact of logging while prioritising carbon offsetting. Guided by the objective of ensuring optimum conservation of forest ecosystems on a productive and sustainable basis, the new business will gradually transition from the harvest of natural forest species to plantation-based forestry in previously degraded forest areas. 13,000 hectares of degraded forests will be planted – with yields increasing by up to 400% in these areas – ultimately allowing 90% of the overall concession of 400,000 hectares to be kept as a conservation area without impacting production volumes. Strict adherence to yield regulation and harvest scheduling will ensure the sustainability of the forest concession, while the minimal harvest of rare species for veneers will ensure tree biodiversity is maintained.

The parties will additionally bring together their port, yards and logistics operations in Gabon located at Mangali and Port Gentil, respectively. The joint venture will establish a robust and strategically integrated logging, timber and logistics production chain in Gabon and generate synergies and cost savings through shared services, logistics and central management, maximising value for all parties and streamlining the sustainable development of the areas covered by the forestry concessions.

The joint venture will manage harvesting rights over 400,000 hectares of forests for a period of 25 years, with the capacity to extract 80,000 to 100,000 cubic metres of logs per year. The new entity is targeting a capacity to process up to 115,000 cubic metres of log input per year within three years, before rising to full capacity after 6-10 years. New timber processing infrastructure will encompass primary, secondary and tertiary transformation (including kiln drying, flooring, decking and furniture-making facilities), as well as processed materials for the construction industry, stimulating Gabonese competitiveness in these areas.

All forestry operations will comply with internationally recognised standards of best practice and adhere to Forest Stewardship Council and/or PEFC certification schemes and IFC best practice guidelines.

Alan Bernstein, Founder and Chairman of Grande Mayumba commented,

“We are pleased to be establishing a joint venture with one of the most experienced players in Gabon’s forestry and timber sector, using leading technology and practices to achieve climate-smart industrial transformation. The partnership will create major efficiencies and establish one of Gabon’s leading forestry and timber companies, opening up significant opportunities in terms of local employment and contributing to the sustainable diversification of Gabon’s economy. The joint venture will serve as a replicable model for innovative and sustainable forestry operations across Gabon and the wider region.”

Stefano Corà, Director of Corà Wood Gabon SA added,

“The establishment of this joint venture will rationalise our logistics and industrial operations and improve efficiencies, paving the way for the long-term sustainable growth of the new business. We look forward to collaborating with Grande Mayumba on this exciting venture that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the forestry concessions.”