Over 200,000 ounces of gold declared for 1st half of 2023


Almost 210,000 ounces of gold was declared in Guyana for the first half of 2023, with this year’s Ministry of Finance Mid-Year Report also revealing that the regulatory authorities have upped their enforcement efforts since last year.

According to the Mid-Year Report, 209,756 ounces of gold was declared at the end of June 2023. The report notes that there were lower declarations from small and medium scale miners, something likely to be addressed as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has already signalled that they will be providing support to these groups of miners.

During a recent press conference, President Dr Irfaan Ali had said the Government would be probing the cause for lower declarations from these miners and will be engaging with stakeholders in the industry.

It was noted in the Mid-Year Report that gold declarations for the same period last year was 236,728. This year’s results were a contraction of 11.4 per cent. According to the report, small- and medium-scale gold miners declared 159,084 ounces at the end of the 2023 first half. However, declarations from the large gold producer – likely a reference to Zijin Mining – expanded by 6.1 per cent.

“Improvements observed in early third quarter, alongside strengthened enforcement efforts by the regulatory authorities, are expected to result in a rebound in the second half. The gold mining subsector is now projected to grow by 5.3 percent in 2023,” the report states.
“The outlook for metals is mixed. While aluminium prices are projected to decline from a record high average of US$2,705 per metric tonne in 2022 to US$2,400 this year, gold prices are forecasted to reach their own record high of an average of US$1,900 per troy ounce for 2023, a 5.5 percent increase year-on-year.”

In August, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) had released a statement in which they revealed some of the issues affecting small and medium scale miners. One of the situations affecting the sector is the migration of miners from gold, to the oil and gas and construction sectors.

“While the entire country is faced with an ongoing labour shortage, the mining sector has been especially hard hit. Workers have been opting out of the sector to work on the coastland where competitive salaries mitigate the risk of interior work. This unprecedented worker scarcity has seen the small and medium scale operators struggling to find workers as the industry bears the brunt of the labour shortage in Guyana,” GGDMA said in their statement.

Mention was also made by the GGDMA about illegal operators, which they noted rob the state of revenue and overall, negatively impact the gold declarations. They noted that while licensed traders and dealers are required to follow strict guidelines and fill out documentation, illegal buyers and smugglers go under the radar.

“In contrast illegal buyers and smugglers do not require documentation and have become the obvious outlet for raiders who steal and sell minerals and have no documentation or legal obligation to prove ownership,” the GGDMA had said.

“The GGDMA is urging the Government to stamp down on the whole chain of illegality including illicit shops, illicit landings, illicit miners/raiders and on all illicit purchasers of gold. Buying gold in Guyana is a privilege; any dealer/trader operating must comply fully with the requirements of their licenses and if they do not, they should no longer have that privilege.”

Earlier this year, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had warned of tough measures and consequences for any miner found engaged in such illegal activities. In fact, Jagdeo had admitted that Government has observed a decline in gold declarations, with at least one foreign company on its radar for declaring lower than usual figures.