…company to expend over US$120 million in the process
The Guyana Goldfields Inc. is looking to expand its operations here by constructing the country’s first underground mine.
This development should occur within the next four years, and the investment would see over US$120 million being pumped into the project.
This is according to the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Canadian-owned mining company, Scott Caldwell.
He said on Saturday that several studies have already been completed, and the company is now awaiting a feasibility report that would determine the commencement date.
Questioned about the risks and safety measures of such operations, Caldwell asserted that this type of mining is a “very safe, very efficient” practice. He explained that the company has to transition from open pit mining to underground mining primarily because of the Cuyuni River.
The CEO also noted that a higher quality of gold lies below the base of the Aurora Mines but the company cannot expand the pit further because of the Cuyuni River, so the other option is to go underground. This method, he added, would result in less disturbance to the environment.
Moreover, Caldwell stated that in order to start driving tunnel underground, the company has already expended some US$4 million to conduct studies, all which found positive results about the operation. In fact, he noted that several million dollars have also been spent on risk analysis and drill testing, including hydrology testing, soil testing, rock mechanics, and so on.
“We’ve done all of that work… all risk analyses were done, so it’s just a question of when we’ll start; and we’ll know the answer by the end of the month,” he posited.
Moreover, the CEO noted that “underground mining is a lot different, obviously, than open pit mining, and there is not a lot of underground mining experience in Guyana as yet. So we need to do quite a bit of training to get the workforce up to snuffle on that.”
According to Caldwell, who has extensive experience in underground mining, the company would have to retain some expatriate trainers for the first phase, and then gradually move on to the Guyanese workforce, which would have to be trained.
“We trained countless Indonesians in that country for underground mining in US, Canada and all around the world. It’s gonna take a while, ‘cause you gotta be safe and efficient; but it can be done, and I know our workforce can be trained to transition from surface to underground” said Caldwell.
He added that when work commences on the underground operations, there would be need to increase the workforce by between 75 and 100 persons, which he said would augur well for Guyana, as it would create job opportunities.