[www.inewsguyana.com] – Aurora Gold Mines Incorporated officially poured its first bar of gold on Tuesday, September 15, where President David Granger urged that it becomes a successful model for large scale mining, and for sound environmental stewardship.
“We congratulate the Guyana Goldfields for commissioning this mine, and the first gold pour. I applaud the efforts of all who worked to bring this enterprise to this stage,” the President said.
The company, President Granger added, is now positioned to intensify production, and by so doing, contribute to its own profitability, the prosperity of the nation and to all Guyanese.
It was a very emotional day for all stakeholders of the company as they have been working effortlessly for years, to bring mining operations to fruition. The company began exploration in 1996, with 150 employees.
However, drilling in the Cuyuni only began in 2003. Now that production has commenced, close to 500 Guyanese will be retained for the operation, which has a mine life of 17 plus years. The projected corporate income tax is estimated at US$509 million. Projected payroll taxes are estimated at US$67 million; excise taxes, US$43 million.
As part of its mandate of being a good corporate citizen, the company has also pledged to donate a school boat to aid in the President’s drive to ensure that every school aged child is in school.
Meanwhile, even as he spoke of his optimism for the company, the President stressed that his government will be looking forward to the company’s respect for local labour and occupational safety laws.
Speaking on the importance of the mining sector, President Granger said there is a link between the development of the hinterland, its people and the gold industry. Alluding to the fact that the hinterland region makes up three quarters of the country, he pointed out that the gold mining industry is located mainly in these regions.
“This industry has been the country’s largest foreign exchange earner for several years, with record breaking production in 2013. A sharp drop in world price for gold in 2014 precipitated a reduction in production, in declarations, and in earnings. Rising cost also resulted in the closure of several small operations and the loss of hundreds of jobs and a slowing in the growth in the economy,” the President said.
However, even amidst these challenges, the President said that the national economy will significantly be enhanced and the livelihood of hinterland residents and miners would be enriched if the industry were to be placed on a surer economic foundation with better administrative controls.
This, he said, would result in a more comprehensive and collaborative approach rather than the confrontation and recrimination, which Guyanese have become accustomed to between the state and the industry.
In addition, the administration will be working on creating a different strategy for security in the mining sector with assistance from all stakeholders. [Extracted and modified from the Ministry of the Presidency]