Miners’ association withdrew proposal on mercury free mining, but Gov’t will move ahead – GGMC

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GGDMA President, Patrick Harding
GGDMA President, Patrick Harding

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Chairman, Clinton Williams along with the Board of Directors of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) says he notes with interest statement in a local daily which were attributed to President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) Patrick Harding of the where he claimed that local miners are yet to tap into the $1 billion fund to go mercury-free.

In a Letter to the Editor, GGMC said the Commission has continuously and unwaveringly worked to identify and test appropriate technologies that can best be adopted given the unique mining sector of Guyana.

This is in response to sentiments expressed by Harding where he claimed too that many of the alternative technologies were very expensive.Clinton-williams-610x300

See below the full text of the GGMC’s letter:

The Chairman and Board of Directors of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) notes with interest the statement in Sunday 11 January 2015 Stabroek News’ edition from Mr. Patrick Harding of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) under the headline “Gold Miners still to tap billion-dollar fund to go mercury-free”

The Commission has continuously and unwaveringly worked to identify and test appropriate technologies that can best be adopted given the unique mining sector of Guyana. The Ministry had taken the proactive step of establishing a Mercury Free Mining Development Fund (MFMDF) given the commitment to the Minamata Convention which was supported by the GGDMA. In operationalizing the MFMDF, the Board of Directors of the Commission approved the invitation for the Request for Proposals from the Financial Institutions which were given copies of the proposal and Terms of Reference of the MFMDF.

The Commercial Banks and Financial Institutions were invited to submit proposals for the management of the financing facility utilizing the GYD$1 Billion earmarked by the MNRE and GGMC for the Mercury Free Mining Development Fund (MFMDF). However, emanating from a meeting with the representatives of the Financial Institutions, was a request for the technical criteria that would be used in the evaluation of applications for funding. Given this, note was taken of the critical need for the identification of the relevant alternative technologies and testing to ensure that these technologies are appropriate and is best suited for the various areas. This was deemed a first step before the funds allocated to the Mercury Free Mining Development Fund can be dispersed to assist in the adoption of the relevant technologies.

A Working Group comprising of the Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (IAST), GGDMA, University of Guyana (UG), Guyana Mining School and Training Centre (GMSTCI) and GGMC was established to undertake the identification and testing of alternative technologies and to make the necessary recommendations to the Board to guide the technical criteria required by the Financial Institutions. The Working Group to date has tested various technologies such as Gold Flotation, Knelson Concentrators, Shaking Tables, Gold Katcha and will be field testing the Spiral Concentrator. Extensive field testing of these and other alternative technologies are being and will be undertaken.

It must be noted that the position of Mr. Patrick Harding of the GGDMA has wavered as it regards the use of the allocated funds. In the 3rd quarter of 2014, the Commission received a letter from Mr. Harding indicating that the position of GGDMA on the use of the funds was to evenly distribute the allocated funds to the small miners. This approach was not deemed satisfactory to the Commission given that it would not serve to develop the sector but rather provide short term financing for operations; which was not the objective of the facility. In this regard, the Commission sought to engage GGDMA on its position. However, in a letter in the 4th quarter of 2014 the Association withdrew its proposal for the distribution of the funds and reiterated its support to the ongoing efforts of the Commission to identify and test appropriate technologies and processes with the aim of eliminating the use of mercury and increasing gold recovery rates.

In December 2014, the Commission and GGDMA re – engaged in fruitful discussions which resulted in the identification of specific mining properties that key equipment can be field tested on. More so, a protocol for the use and testing of the equipment by miners is currently being developed jointly by the Commission and the Association.

In this regard, the impression created in the article that nothing is being done is erroneous and misleading to the citizenry and stakeholders of the sector. The Ministry and the Commission has worked tirelessly and diligently in promoting alternative recovery processes with the aim of developing the sector and promoting efficient mining practices. The Association is in agreement that the identification and testing of the various mercury free and improved recovery processes is critical and necessary to avoid the wastage of scarce financial resources. Notwithstanding this, the importance of these alternative processes is well noted given the Minamata Convention and the current low recovery rate in the sector. The Ministry and the Commission takes this opportunity to provide clarity on the matter and remains committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the viability of the sector.

With regards,

………………………

Mr. Jacques Foster

Secretary

Board of Directors

GGMC

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