Over 500 Guyanese re-employed at Aurora Gold Mine

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Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat greeting a Guyanese employee at the Aurora Gold Mine. Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Mr. Joslyn McKenzie is pictured at left.

Some 587 Guyanese have been re-employed by Aurora Gold Mine after being laid off earlier this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was disclosed by Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, who visited the mining operations on Monday to recommission the company’s Processing Plant.

“This is quite outstanding because at our first meeting a few months back, a few weeks after we took office, the company reported that they would re-employ before December, but only two to three hundred Guyanese. So today, we are happy to learn that the company has already re-employed 587 Guyanese,” the Minister said.

Minister Bharrat said Aurora Gold Mine, which was recently acquired by Zijin Mining Group Company Limited, a Chinese company, will start full operations soon. “This is a positive step forward in creating employment for Guyanese and to re-employ those who would have been laid off by Guyana Goldfields previously,” he said.

Minister Bharrat pointed out that Zijin Mining is also hoping to get approval to start regulated underground mining in Guyana. The company is seeking to start operations by mid-2021. This will see almost 200 additional Guyanese being employed, bringing the total close to 700.

However, Minister Bharrat noted that Guyana lacks the capacity to regulate underground mining. He added that they have had discussions on building local capacity and bringing in experts to regulate the operations.

He also disclosed that the Ministry is seeking to partner with the company to develop the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission’s (GGMC) mining school. “If we are going to speak on local content as a country, and a Government, demand employment for Guyanese. We need to build technical capabilities; we need to build capacity among our locals,” Minister Bharrat said.

Meanwhile, safety remains a primary concern for the Ministry. Consequently, an agreement was reached with the company for “two GGMC Mines Officers who will be permanently placed here at the Aurora Mines to ensure that the regulations are followed and to advise and guide the company as to daily operations.”

Meanwhile, the Minister said the Environmental Protection Agency would be engaged to address any environmental matter.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Joslyn McKenzie, Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Dr. K. J. Srinivasa and officers from the GGMC also attended Monday’s exercise.