By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – With almost 700 employees currently working on a 24 hour basis at its Region Seven, Cuyuni Mazaruni location, Guyana Goldfields’ Inc says it is on target to begin commercial production by mid 2015 at the Aurora Gold Mines which would be the first to attempt underground mining in Guyana.
The Company took members of the media on a tour of its constructing 100% owned and permitted Aurora Gold Project which has been reduced from a mines footprint of 3,000 hectares to some 800 hectares, following the adoption of a new design; meaning that fewer trees will have to be cleared to establish the mines.
Indeed it represented a diversity of local and international culture with a mixture of Guyanese, Peruvians, Colombians, Venezuelans, Mexicans nationalities, and according to reviews, this project could replace the void left in the mining industry by the now defunct Omai Gold Mines.
The Canadian Company prides itself in safety and good environmental practices and assurances were given by the team which included General Manager of Operations Victor Rozon, Country Manager Violet Smith and Human Resources Manager Peter Benny that strict policies and guidelines are in place as the Company advances its explorations and development of gold deposits in Guyana.
The Company currently holds advanced exploration projects and has been operating in Guyana continuously since 1996.
According to Rozon, the US$400 million investment will start at a production of 5,000 tonnes a day and will expand to 10,000 tonnes a day; moving from open pit mining to underground mining within five years of operation of the mines which currently has a life span of 17 years.
The Buckhall Wharf has been upgraded to a fully-functional river port and is used by the Company to transport equipment onto the site where a 600 man camp has been built with recent expansions to allow for 900 man camp with fully functioning kitchen, medical center, recreation room and offices.
Rozon said too that the Company complies fully with Guyanese environmental and other legislation and regulations and has promoted adherence to a voluntary “Cyanide Management Code” that aims to assist in the protection of human health and reduce environmental impacts through implementation of best practices for cyanide management and verification through third party audits.
Adhering to environmental best practices is crafted into the loan agreement where failure to hold fast will see the affection of the disbursement of monies to complete construction.
The General Manager pointed out that they are not at all worried about the falling gold prices; explained that once it falls below US$800, it would trigger a cause for concern.
Meanwhile, Benny told the media that employment before the mines open is expected to peak 900 employees with more Guyanese than expats. Once operations commence production will peak in 2020 and is expected to end in 2031.
He said what is important is that Guyanese who have never done underground mining before will get an opportunity to learn from the professionals.
On a separate note, Smith said that Corporate Social Responsibility is a practice that Guyana Goldfields Inc is striving to have embedded in practically every aspect of the company’s mandate.
“Being a Canadian company based in Guyana, we take seriously Canada’s government 4 pillar CSR action plan: Building the Canadian Advantage.”
The goal of this plan is to raise the bar for excellent CSR-related practices in overseas countries in the extractive sector.