The record amount of gold declared thus far for 2016, in excess of 243,000 ounces, from January to May, has been attributed to several factors, according to Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman.
Addressing the media yesterday, the Minister said small and medium scale miners continue to be “very diligent and productive in the fields despite prices being a bit sluggish.”
He added that the efforts to curb gold smuggling have started to “bear fruit”. Declining to give details on the initiatives to curb the illegal activities, Minister Trotman said this effort has been taken over by the Ministry of Public Security.
He admitted that while there has been a shift in the trend of gold smuggling, it is a fact that there are now more declarations of the precious metal being made. The contributions made by major investments such as Troy Resources and Aurora Gold Fields have also boosted the gold declarations, Minister Trotman added.
Asked about the number of labour infractions in the sector, Minister Trotman said the Ministry, guided by Minister within the Natural Resources, Simona Broomes and the Ministry of Social Protection, has used it discretion to address these challenges. He explained, “Miners come to us for concessions and we say we are not giving you concessions unless you’re treating your workers well. We found that this has worked.”
He added that the information has gone out to those in the sector that the Ministry is performing a “gate-keeping function” and is examining issues of payment and treatment of workers.
According to Minister Trotman, whilst complaints are down, there is now greater respect for workers. However, he acknowledged that the system is still not perfect, but there is better compliance with the laws which he attributed to the presence of Minister Broomes.