[www.inewsguyana.com] – In an effort to enhance the supervision and management of the mining sector and increase legality, especially in Region Nine, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment commissioned a new facility in Lethem on Wednesday, December 17.
The fully equipped facility that costs close to $70M is one of seven that will be commissioned in several mining districts over the next two months, with the aim of ensuring that Guyanese benefit from their country’s natural resources in a more sustainable manner.
“That there is always a concern about the state’s ability to regulate the mining sector, particularly in gold mining, and also with the advent of oil exploration as potential resides even in this area…it has always been questioned whether we are investing enough in developing the type of capabilities and capacities to monitor, regulate and enforce and to ensure that we support the sector in its sustainable and viable growth,” said Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud who declared the facility open.
Minister Persaud noted that while the sector continues to grow, it is imperative that mining is done in a manner that takes into account, not only the obligations, but also ensures that it serves the community and the country as a whole.
For a number of years the mining sector has been believed to be under-regulated and Minister Persaud noted that the ministry has sought to rectify this issue.
“One of the first mandates I have given the board (GGMC) and the commission is that we must have a fixed, permanent presence, not only in traditional mining areas, but areas that we see new activities,” the Minister pointed out.
To date, there are 15 new stations spread across the regions, including mobile stations, with an objective of facilitating staff to execute their duties in a more comfortable atmosphere, have more focus on regulations, and monitoring and enforcement, particularly for Region Nine which has very sensitive biodiversity, as there are two protected areas and rich potential in terms of minerals.
“By us having this kind of presence we will be able to work with the community in providing the opportunities and ensuring that we have a level of responsibility…we also recognise too that we have the threat, we sit right on the border and there has always been the complaint and the reality too whereby we have seen some illegal movements of some of the folks from our neighbouring state and we have always wanted to ensure that the agencies are present in this particular area, whether it’s immigration, GRA and now the GGMC, so that we can facilitate legal interface and legal involvement because we have benefitted from miners and other investors from other state,” Minister Persaud further explained.
He said that this facility will allow the agency to have new undertakings and to involve the communities, stakeholders and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ensure that they are part and parcel of the development that is taking place in the region. [Extracted and modified from GINA]