GGDMA concerned about “hints” at removal of mining concessions


See full statement from the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA)

The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) has taken keen note of the recent findings by the US Department of Treasury and the subsequent sanctions placed on a number of Guyanese nationals and entities. The GGDMA’s position has always been anti-smuggling and welcomes this disclosure and the government of Guyana’s commitment to pursue a full investigation into the matter and prosecute those involved.

The GGDMA has always urged members to sell only to licensed dealers or the Guyana Gold Board. The gold mining industry has a long history in Guyana and has been a pillar for the economy long before oil was discovered. Miners have stood with Guyana and the industry has persevered through all the ups and downs of Guyana’s economic growth.

The GGDMA therefore urges the government not to use the recent disclosure by the United States as a broad brush to paint all miners as smugglers. The majority of miners are not engaged in smuggling. They are in the business of mining and have worked hard for their place in society.

There are undoubtedly smugglers in the midst of the industry, and we will continue to provide support to the Government to root them out. However, the GGDMA notes with much consternation hints of the removal of certain incentives and concessions that the GGDMA has fought for on behalf of the industry. We urge the authorities not to give in to this knee jerk reaction and to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” as this would be unacceptable.

The mining industry has fought long and hard to get concessions which have helped bolster the industry through the many tough times. It would be grossly irresponsible to hold the actions of a few against the majority of miners. Due to massive labour shortages at all levels in the sector, legitimate operators are also suffering from low production due to their inability to run as many operations; consequently, the total production of gold from the miners who are selling to legitimate channels has also been greatly diminished. Benefits to these compliant organizations should not be taken away.

The GGDMA repeats it calls for the Government to address frontally the issue of smuggling and to take the US report as a launching pad to prosecute the bad actors in the industry.

The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association is encouraging all miners to sell their gold to the Guyana Gold Board [GGB] or to Licensed Gold Dealers. Miners are also reminded that they should ensure that proper documentation and a periodic statement of their transactions is received from the Licensed Gold Dealer. This statement should be with the gold dealer’s records presented to GGB. This verification is important since it will ensure that your gold is properly accounted for and that your taxes are being correctly paid to the Government.