[www.inewsguyana.com] – Global drop in gold prices is of great concern to the Guyana gold mining sector, through which its representative body, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) is appealing to the government for more assistance.
This was revealed in an advertisement published in one of the daily newspapers on Sunday, November 23.
The GGDMA pointed out the promises made by President Donald Ramotar and his government’s additional support and appealed to its members to wear yellow jerseys/shirts as a show of solidarity with the mining sector.
However, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in a recent media release says it continues to engage the mining sector in cushioning the impacts of the global drop in gold price which is currently US$1202 per ounce.
According to the media release, the gold mining sector of the economy has been the catalyst for economic growth and has improved the economic well-being of citizens of Guyana.
In light of the low gold prices and its impact on the mining operations and the mining sector, the Government of Guyana (GoG), through the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MNRE) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), engaged the GGDMA and identified areas of concern and implemented measures aimed at ensuring that the sector remains viable.
It was noted that specific interventions were made by the government to support the sector to ensure its survival and continued growth and contribution to national development. These include:
- Small and Medium Scale operations benefit from duty free access to All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Excavators, Bulldozers and other machinery used in the mining industry.
- Waivers for double-cab pickups to miners based on their production levels which was used to determine the various categories and associated waivers that would apply.
- A list of nineteen (19) suppliers of mining equipment and spares was approved for tax waivers on the importation of said equipment. This will reduce the cost of spares and critical suppliers for miners and is addition to the items that are currently imported duty free.
- The Government granted a fuel import licence to the Association under its name “GGDMA Trading Inc.”. The request for a fuel importation licence was posited by the GGDMA to reduce the cost of fuel for miners and such this licence was granted by the Government. Miners also have a concession on fuel where it only attracts 10% CIF Excise Tax.
- Established the Mercury-Free Mining Development Fund (MFMDF) of GYD$1.0 Billion to provide small and medium scale miners with the wherewithal to adopt mercury-free technology and to increase the level of gold recovery in the mining sector.
- Miners have access to 10% of their gold sales available in US Dollars to assist in retooling, capital acquisition and diversification of investments.
- Rehabilitation of hinterland roads and infrastructure to ensure that mining lands are easily accessible. In this regard, efforts are being made to implement road monitoring checkpoints to ensure that roads are not used indiscriminately in times of heavy rainfall since this result in the deterioration of the roads.
- The list of roads and bridges submitted by GGDMA for rehabilitation and repairs in 2014, was included into GGMC’s Work Plan for 2014 and work ongoing or completed for those roads/bridges. This is in addition to other roads and bridges that the Commission is currently rehabilitating or funding.
- GGMC held an auction on the 11th of August, 2014 where a total of 939 properties were bid for. In addition, a Lottery was held in Georgetown and at three interior locations on the 18th of August 2014 with a total of 903 blocks being won during the exercise. The Lottery and Auction was done to ensure that mining properties are continuously available to miners and to sustain current production levels.
- The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association proposed to the Ministry and the Commission, the reduction of rental paid on mining properties and lowering royalty payments from the current 5%, given the low gold prices that prevailed. A proposal recommending the rates for royalty and rental payments will be reviewed by the Ministry and the Commission.
- The Mining School continues to train persons in entry level skills for the mining sector and this increases the pool of human resources available for miners.
According to the media release, the Ministry and GGMC will continue to work with the GGDMA to ensure that the sector achieves its full potential, while contributing significantly to the development and growth of Guyana.