Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said he would petition the Ministry of Finance to set aside a greater portion of the gold royalties for land reclamation projects.
Trotman, who visited a pilot land reclamation project site in Olive Creek, Region Seven last week, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the Natural Resources Ministry, through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), will be aggressively pursuing land reclamation in the mining industry.
However, the Minister pointed out that financing the project will be costly. Currently, miners pay the GGMC an environmental bond of $100,000. “It may be too much to ask them (miners) to pay a $1M, in view of all that is going on, but I believe that a percentage of the royalties received could be set aside,” Trotman said.
Additionally, the government says it intends to invest oil revenues, when it begins oil production, into reclamation projects.
“We have to bring it to a place or a point of optimum where as much reclamation is happening as there is mining. As we progress into having revenues from oil and gas, we’ve already made provisions for some percentage to be set aside from that for environmental protection and reclamation projects like these,” said Trotman.
The Natural Resources Minister says he envisions having a reclamation project in each of the six mining districts in Guyana. “We have to ensure that mining remains viable, but at the same time, we do so in a sustainable manner.”
The Olive Creek project, which was undertaken in collaboration with Correia Mining Company, seeks to provide necessary data on natural reclamation. It is expected that the information that the GGMC accumulated from the Olive Creek reclamation project will be used to promote the practice.
An aggressive education awareness campaign, targeting miners, will soon be underway by the GGMC. Miners are required by law to reclaim the lands they mine, however most of them do not adhere to this mining rule which seeks to promote environmentally safe and sustainable mining practices.
Land reclamation could reverse geological changes on the land and in water flow and reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes and the diseases they spread. The GGMC had also achieved success in reclaiming mined out lands in Mahdia back in 2009.