Mining activity plummets in wake of falling gold prices; over 100 excavators repossessed

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By Kurt Campbell

President of the GGDMA, Patrick Harding.
President of the GGDMA, Patrick Harding.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) Patrick Harding says despite breaking the record on gold production in 2013 with a gold declaration of 481,100 ounces, 2013 has not been a good year for the mining industry.

He attributed this to the continuing fall in the price for gold both on the local and international markets. Harding said the drop recorded (18,000 – 12,000) is enough is devastate any industry.

In this regard, the GGDMA President is calling on the Government to provide support to miners, especially small scale miners who are mostly affected.

“We now have to find ways to cut cost and trim the fat from our operations in order to stay alive… and the banks seldom assist,” Harding to a special miners meeting on Monday evening at the Regency Suites Hotel.

According to Harding, over 100 excavators have been repossessed because miners cannot afford to continue paying for them, adding that several miners have also had setbacks in starting up their business for the year.

“We need Government’s intervention immediately if we are to survive and continue to play a critical role in the development of the country,” he added.

Meanwhile, President Donald Ramotar who was present at the time said the fall in gold prices is also a worrisome occurrence for his Administration. He too expressed concerns and said the Government; particularly the Ministry of Finance is addressing the matter.

“It is something we are worrying about as we prepare our budget and look at demands,” the President said.

Ramotar is hopeful that the drop is only temporary but committed to assisting.

“According to the experts, the price will move sideways. We hope that it will increase again. I want to say though that not a lot has changed in wake of the drop, the reason for the drop itself has to do with speculation… I’m hopeful of a rebound,” the Head of State said.

In relation to the repossessed excavators, President Ramotar reiterated the need for hire purchase legislation locally.

But despite these challenges the President remains optimistic that the industry will do better than its record breaking year in 2014.

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