A probe has now been launched into the smuggling of mercury into Suriname by Guyanese, the Natural Resources Minster, Raphael Trotman has said.
“Suriname has banned the use of mercury all together … I do believe that the mercury that they imported here into Guyana is crossing the border into Suriname and because it is banned there, it is being smuggled there from here” Trotman told media operative at a forum on Wednesday.
The Minister revealed that the suspicions of the illegal activities have led the two countries working closer together to remedy the situation.
Trotman said “We believe that this is what is happening and this is why we are going to be working closer with Suriname and with our partners the Conservation International World Wildlife to bring this matter to a point of satisfaction”.
The Natural Resources Minister reasoned that the volume of mercury being imported into Guyana is not being used by Guyanese and as such suspicions aroused.
He posited that he is certain that the imported mercury is not being stockpiled and is neither being used by two large gold mining companies.
“When I look at the figures I’m amazed at the volume of mercury that has been imported into Guyana recently and given the amount of gold that we are getting this mercury can’t be used in Guyana. So I suspect that it might be going elsewhere where there is a restriction or ban. If it is being stockpiled, I don’t know for what purpose. The two large companies Troy Resources and Aurora Gold Mines neither uses mercury” Trotman said.
The Minister further informed the gathering that he understands it is an ongoing phenomenon which cannot be eradicated but rather reduced.
“We are not here to pretend that we can eradicate smuggling and bring it to zero but we can however be vigilante and reduce the issue of the mercury smuggling.”
In addition to the smuggling of mercury, Trotman also said that gold is being smuggled.
“We do have a lot of instances somewhat acute of the smuggling of gold and we believe that we have a better understanding of the phenomenon however we are striving to curb it” Trotman posited.