This was disclosed by Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman as he has charged the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission’s (GGMC) Board of Directors to step up its efforts to ensure a safe and secure mining sector is achieved.
The Minister declared that stricter measures will now have to be taken by that agency to ensure that the laws are enforced and upheld.
Addressing the Directors, Minister Trotman said that the day for “free passes” are over and it is now time that the mining sector is put on a safe and stable footing. Minister Trotman said added that GGMC must ensure that it holds accountable, the miners, who are responsible for these ‘lawless’ practices.
“The responsibility for the environment is not solely that of the State. It is the responsibility of those who own and operate mining concessions to ensure that after they would have ceased operations they do not leave these huge abscesses on our landscape, but that the land is reclaimed by nature,” he said.
The Minister of Governance pointed out that as it stands, the sector has attracted criticisms with the thrust of this, is the manner in which, the industry is viewed and regulated.
“It has to change. We must protect and preserve our national patrimony for the others to come…It has to be regulated better …we must make mining safer, have no incidences of corruption and graft and we must examine how we can ensure that the people of Guyana benefit. That is the policy of the government. The Minister, the Commission and the Commissioner must work together and cooperation and respect must be given to each other,” he emphasised.
Acknowledging the need for improved infrastructure and the Government’s role in providing these, Minister Trotman told the Board that it is also their responsibility to ensure that the environmental and health faucets of the sector are not neglected.
“It is our job is to provide infrastructure. That’s a governmental function, but we need to ensure the security and safety of the sector. We need to improve health and environmental practices. They [miners] have been given a free pass for too long. We have to put them to work. An environmental bond of $100,000 is simply insufficient and we must address this,” he declared.
“You’ve got to show that you are paying your taxes; that you haven’t left lands with gaping holes and you’re practicing safe mining. At the end of the day to qualify, you’ve got to show you are mining in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way,” Minister Trotman outlined.