Over 1500 jobs to be created as gold mining activities progress at Oko


The Guyana Government recently accepted the terms of scope for the environmental and social impact assessment on the Oko West project, allowing the Canadian company, Reunion Gold, to move ahead with permitting.

The project area occupies about 12,000 acres of prime gold property.

Chief Executive Officer of Reunion Gold Rick Howes, had said in a statement last month that the company remains on track with its accelerated development timeline for Oko West, which includes the completion of a preliminary economic assessment by the end of the second quarter of 2024.

The company had said it plans to advance work on both the feasibility study and the environmental permits throughout the remainder of 2024 and into the first quarter of 2025.

During a recent discussion on the Guyana Dialogue programme, Natural Resource Minister Vickram Bharrat revealed that gold mining operations will commence in three years’ time following the construction of a mining facility.

“So, there is a large amount of it in the large-scale gold mining operation in which we see the results in another three to four years from now”.

“I mentioned a new company we are going into agreement soon; they are going to create 1500 jobs during construction and then 500 during production. This is a direct benefit to Guyanese again,” Minister Bharrat disclosed.

When asked about other major mining operations across the country, Bharrat disclosed that companies such as Omai Gold Mine is growing exponentially.

“Have companies sitting on $6.5 million ounces of gold, we have another company on $2 million ounces of gold, Omai is back doing exploration sitting on over $4million ounces of gold. So, our proved resources in the gold sector to date is $15 million ounces of gold which have already been discovered by large-scale companies,” he disclosed.

Reunion Gold

In 2023 Reunion Gold in a release said that it has raised $70 million from a bought deal financing and will use part of the proceeds to advance the company’s Oko West project in Guyana to the next stage of development.

The company said an underwriting syndicate acquired 152.2 million shares at 46 cents per share. It also said the underwriters have been granted the option to purchase an additional 15% of the offering to cover over-allotments, if any. The green shoe option remains open for 30 days after closing.

Back in February 2022, the company announced that it would continue drilling at its Region Seven location since it believes that even more deposits of gold are available at the Wenot deposit.

Prior to that, the company had filed a technical report with SEDAR, which supports the 16.7 million tonnes of indicated gold and 19.5 million tonnes of inferred gold it had announced the Wenot deposit held back in January.

Gold mining expansion

Gold mining in Guyana is the second highest contributor to country’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which grew by 33 per cent in 2023.

Some 40,000 Guyanese are currently working in the sector which expanded by 42.6 percent last year.

According to Natural Resource Minister, the sector is a priority for Government and efforts will be made this year to facilitate further expansion, however, noted that the administration not in a rush to extract oil and ramp up production of mining simultaneously.

On this point, he explained that Guyana’s forest is a global asset which the world depends on, and as a result, all environmental activities will be conducted in a safe and sustainable manner.

In fact, a total of $710 million allocation in the 2024 National Budget for several projects, including the rolling out of a mineral mapping project which would be launched in phases.
According to the minister, this mineral survey is “badly needed”, and would assist with a more informed allocation of claims and mining blocks of mineralised areas. This, he explained, would significantly reduce deforestation caused by miners.

With a limited or outdated mineral inventory, miners are usually issued lands that they clear out, and if they do no find minerals, then they would move on to other locations.
The Natural Resources Minister pointed out that this mineral survey would also remove or ease the cost of prospecting and exploration exercises, especially for small- and medium-scale miners. Already, miners do not usually invest in this exercise.