Mercury levels at GGMC have stabilised- Trotman

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Natural Resources Minister, Rapheal Trotman, said following an expert investigation of the Guyana Gold Board’s (GGB) Laboratory it was revealed that the mercury levels are back to normal.

Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources

He added that thus far over 60 persons have recorded higher than normal levels of mercury within their system and are being monitored.

The review was conducted by overseas company Kaizan Environmental Services.

Moreover, Trotman outlined that GGB will now have to consider whether it should remove its laboratory from the compound of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), where the employees became sick, and have it situated somewhere else.

The review comes after the GGMC confirmed that a number of its employees were sent home on sick leave as a result of suspected mercury poisoning.

The GGMC building is situated on Brickdam.

GGMC’s Commissioner Newell Dennison had explained in sections of the media that
the natural resources agency was conducting testing on its staffers for unusual levels of mercury poisoning and found that a relatively large number of persons, many not directly in contact with the substance, have been affected.

The Guyana Gold Board’s laboratory in the GGMC compound where burning of gold is done to get rid of the mercury used in the amalgamation process of extracting the gold was reportedly responsible for the emissions which may have affected the employees.

Dennison was quoted in the media saying that “consideration is being given to relocating the current testing lab to a separate area, since mercury vapours would remain in office spaces and air conditioning units. While regular testing on various matters is said to be a norm of the mining commission, it was noted that the unusually high levels of mercury poisoning is a first. We do testing on a regular basis, and collect samples from staffers for different things, but never have we had a situation like this.”

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