The natural resources sector has earned US$7.4M from exported forest products in the first quarter of 2018 while 145,133 ounces of gold has been declared during that same period.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, on Saturday, shared the performance of the sector with residents of Matthew’s Ridge during a public meeting.
As it pertains to gold however, Trotman had revealed that 163,000 ounces of gold was declared for the first quarter of 2017. Meaning that the 2018 production comparative to 2017 fell by almost 18, 000 ounces.
According to Trotman on Saturday, an ambitious 800,000 ounces target has been set for 2018. Government had initially set a target of 720,000 ounces for 2017 but at the end of 2017 was only able declare 653,674 ounces, prompting Finance Minister Winston Jordan to dub the performance disappointing.
He was at the time lamenting the dismal 2.1 per cent growth rate achieved for 2017, after Government had projected that Guyana’s economy would have grown by a 3.8 per cent for that year. That projection was reduced to 3.1 per cent and then again to 2.9 per cent.
Meanwhile, Trotman noted that production in the forestry sector is on the increase, an improvement from 2017, while outlining that during the period January to March 2018, 13,000 metric carats of diamonds were also declared.
Bauxite’s first quarter production, Trotman said, was 229,441 tonnes despite works by Rusal Guyana stalling following sanctions on its parent company by the United States.
Meanwhile, sand’s first quarter production was 224,948 tonnes while stone was 52,016 tonnes.
Minister Trotman noted that government intervention last year allowed for local producers to supply the airport expansion project.
The Minister pointed out that there are efforts by the Ministry to update the mining regulations and policy. “We are focusing on how we can make mining better” he said.
Moreover, the Natural Resources Minister said that Government remains committed to promoting the extraction of the country’s natural resources in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.