[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Agencies responsible for mining in Guyana, led by Natural Resources and the Environment Minister, Robert Persaud met today with the executive members of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Licensed Gold Dealers, particularly in relation to concerns raised that enforcement of mining laws and regulations were criminalizing the trade.
All sides reportedly deliberated and committed to various common activities which can ensure that the levels of gold declaration are improved. In a joint press statement, it was noted that all sides agreed too that the activities were in no manner set out to criminalize miners.
It was noted that there are speculations of hoarding, smuggling and the use of the gold trading business for other illegal activities. However, there is no definitive conclusion to any of those claims.
The records of the supervisory authorities only indicate that there is a lower level of declaration by the mining industry in 2014 when compared to the same period in 2013. However, the records also showed that there are improved levels of sales by miners to the licensed dealers, especially in the Districts that the GGB’s offices are closed.
“It must be noted that prices on the world market for gold have increased over the last seven days and we are all hopeful of improved prices for better sales to the GGB and to the dealers.”
On this note Minister Persaud stated that “we all share the common understanding of concerns for the lower levels of declaration.” The Minister reiterated that all stakeholders of the gold mining sector must focus on the factors which can help to improve on the levels of declaration.
To this end the executive members of the GGDMA stated that gold is a non-renewable resource and there are reports, within their cohorts, that there are lower levels of production within the industry. The GGDMA indicated that there is a reduction in the workings in the mining districts, and production is lower as cost is still high for some areas of operation, and miners are awaiting incentives to facilitate increase in production and productivity.
The GGDMA stated that a review of the Gold Board Act is necessary which was agreed at the meeting. A sub-committee will be established to undertake the task of reviewing the entire Act. Members of that sub-committee will include both private and public sector representatives. The meeting also called for a revision to some of the conditions for the licensing of gold dealers.
The meeting was also informed that the first auction by the GGMC will be done within the next four weeks and the next lottery will be done within eight weeks. In addition, the issue of crime in the mining industry will be addressed by a meeting to be held with the Guyana Police Force.
Moreover, it was once again re-emphasized that the closure of the Bartica sub-office and subsequent closure of the GGB operations in Charity have not impacted on the levels of declarations between 2013 and 2014.
The GGDMA restated the call for all gold to be sold to the GGB or licensed dealers and that the licensed dealers must be accountable for the gold they are purchasing for Guyana.