[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) this morning expressed fears that misinformation and sloth could result in the demise of the mining sector and failure to meet the 2014 production targets.
The Body responded to what it said was misinformation spewed by Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud in relation to government’s intervention in ensuring the sustainability of the mining sector.
The GGDMA reminded that it called for several concessions in this regard; including reduction of rental payments by 2% for small and medium scale miners, duty free allowance for spare parts on equipment which already enjoy duty free tariff status, reduction of the tax vis-à-vis the price of fuel and reconvening of the inter-ministerial task force that is supposed to meet, discuss and make recommendations to President Ramotar.
“The Association perceives there have been a breakdown of communications as it refers to the Ministry statements on duty free for spare parts on equipment, and the reduction of tax on fuel. For the record, these statements can be deemed partially accurate, but the concessions are only extended to large scale miners and not small and medium scale,” the Body said in a release.
With reference to the $1B allocated for improved mining technologies and mercury free mining, the GGDMA says it applauds the government but argued that is not likely to bring immediate relief for the sector.
The Association says it also appreciates the hundreds of millions of dollars voted for the maintenance of roads in the interior; however bureaucracy has created a situation whereby only 25% of the monies allocated have been utilized to date.
“In respect to the fuel, the GGDMA appreciated that through the intervention of His Excellency President Ramotar, the Association received a licence to import and distribute fuel. The Association is presently involved in several negotiations, however, at this time; it is not advantageous to the Industry to commence importation. The Association hopes to do this in the not too distant future,” the statement added.
The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) in a recent statement had noted the importance of the sector to Guyana’s economy while detailing the many concessions granted.
Presently Small and Medium Scale operations benefit from duty free access on All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Excavators, Bulldozers and other machinery used in the mining industry. These waivers on duty are available to new entrants to the sector and for current miners based on production levels.
Also, government recently approved the granting of waivers for double-cab pickups to miners based on their production levels which were used to determine the various categories and associated waivers that would apply while a list of nineteen (19) suppliers of mining equipment and spares was approved for tax waivers on the importation of same equipment.
The GGMA had noted that consequent representation by the GGDMA, the Government granted a fuel import licence to the Association.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment says it remains cognizant of the financial challenges faced by small and medium scale miners to adopt mercury-free technologies, given that the alternatives to mercury in gold mining are costly and not readily accessible by small miners.
In this regard the Ministry is working closely with the GGMC by looking at ways through which miners can be further ‘incentivised’ to incorporate mercury-free technologies into their practices, established the Mercury-Free Mining Development Fund (MFMDF) of GYD$1 Billion.