[www.inewsguyana.com] – Gold miners say they want an opportunity to prosper and not bailout from financial ruin. A press statement noted that the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) has noted with serious concern the recent fall in the price of gold on the world market and the potentially devastating impact it can have on the Guyanese economy.
The GGDMA to this end would like to inform all miners that they have already taken steps to actively engage the Government of Guyana at the highest levels to discuss and offer suggestions that would ensure that the industry and the 100,000 + Guyanese who depend on it, directly and indirectly, for a living, can continue to look to the sector for support.
“The engagement is to be seen as proactive and aimed at preventing the need for any bailout as the industry is heading into a recession. The GGDMA will actively pursue the long outstanding issues and concessions that can aid in cushioning the gold price drop,” the statement noted.
According to the statement, the cost of production, for the small and medium scale miners of gold and diamonds, has remained largely unchanged while the price of gold continues to fall, with some analysts predicting the price to drop to $1,000 USD an ounce within the near future.
“At the current price miners are finding it extremely difficult to meet their obligations and the sector is now plagued with repossessions, of mining equipment and property, and defaulting bank payments as many of the smaller operations find it difficult to continue to subsidize the cost of production. To this end the GGDMA will be pursuing with the Government of Guyana, concessions similar to those granted to large scale mining companies.”
It was noted that the GGDMA recognizes the contribution that these companies can make to Guyana but notes that the thousands of Guyanese in the local industry contribute far more in terms of gold production, spin off benefits and employment and should be entitled to assistance.
“Small and Medium scale miners, for the past few years, have been producing more gold than is currently projected to be produced by the large scale companies.
“The new world market price could spell doom for many smaller operations which operate largely through self-financing and on very narrow margins. The GGDMA members, who are mainly small and medium scale miners represent more than 90% of the operations in the interior and almost all are financed via the personal pockets of the operators. The current price and unmoved cost of production put at risk not only the direct employees of the sector by the thousands of other Guyanese who depend on the flow on effect on the industry. Mining remains the largest creator of private wealth among Guyanese and the current slump, if not checked, will result in poverty for many.”
According to the GGDMA, there has already been a noticeable downturn in the economy of hinterland mining communities such as Bartica, Port Kaituma, Mahdia, and others. Many other communities such as Linden, Diamond, Beehive, Ann’s Grove, Essequibo Coast and other coastal communities where miners reside have also seen a reduction in economic spending power.
The GGDMA is calling on its members to continue to examine methods of costs savings and increased efficiency without any compromise in safety or sound environmental practice. The Association also reminds miners to continue to sell their gold to the licensed dealers or the Guyana Gold Board and to demand a receipt for gold sold. The Association is continuing to work in the interest of all miners, as it has been doing for the last 33 years, and hopes that the upcoming high level meeting will be more than a talk shop.