Miner accused of infringing on Lumumba lands granted court orders
A Bartica miner accused of illegally infringing on lands being held by Presidential Advisor, Odinga Lumumba, has been granted court orders against the Guyana Geology and Mines Commissions (GGMC), which last year instructed activities to cease.
On Tuesday, Ignatius Timmerman, through his lawyers, Anil Nandlall, Euclin Gomes and Manoj Narayan, were granted orders for the mining regulatory body to show cause why their cease work instruction made on August 30, 2010, should not be overturned.
Timmerman, in his claims, said that he has been occupying five claims since 1991 with the Official Gazette listing him as the holder since 2003.
The miner argued that he started small scale operations on the claims since 1991 and paid GGMC annual rent, while at the same time selling gold to the Guyana Gold Board, with the knowledge and approval of the GGMC.
Timmerman also claimed that on April 21, 1993, a GGMC official visited the claims, located on the left bank of the Cuyuni River, which were recorded on a document.
“Over the last twenty (20) years, and without any objections from anyone, including the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, and with their knowledge, I have expended approximately forty million dollars ($40 million) in the construction of roads, bridges and buildings; currently, I have six (6) buildings on the said claims, including my residence, accommodation for workers, a mess hall, a kitchen, a garage and a workshop.”
The miner claimed that in July last year, officials of the GGMC visited his camp at Mariwa, located on the claims, and requested “me to show them the boundary lines for the said claims, the claim boards, dredge licence, claim licence, production book and workers privileges.”
According to Timmerman, the officials said that they were in receipt of information that he was encroaching on certain claims held by Odinga Lumumba.
“…But after examining my documents and the boundary lines and claim boards which I pointed out to them, they left, apparently satisfied that I was not encroaching on Mr. Lumumba’s claim.”
The miner, in his affidavit, claimed that Lumumba wrote GGMC on July 21, 2010, “alleging that I am carrying on illegal mining operations on an area for which he holds a Prospecting Licence and in the said letter, he requests the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to stop my operations within seventy two (72) hours.”
Timmerman disclosed that on August 17, he and his wife met with the Presidential Advisor, at his office in Georgetown and “he informed me that he believed that a Prospecting Licence, which he holds for claims located in close proximity to mine, passes through one of my claims.
“I informed Mr. Odinga Lumumba that the same is not possible because my claims and their boundaries, clearly delineated, have been in existence long before his Prospecting Licence was issued and further that I know the area very well having been working on those claims with the previous owners since 1985 and the boundaries thereof have never been in dispute.”
Lumumba, according to Timmerman, then signaled his intentions to conduct an exercise to verify and confirm the boundaries of his claim and requested the miner to cooperate with that exercise, which he agreed to do.
On August 27, Timmerman claimed that in his absence and without his permission, a group of men unknown to him, entered his claims and attempted to cut lines through them but workers prevented them from so doing.
Two days later, two GGMC officers visited Timmerman’s worksite and issued an oral order to cease work, to employees.
Three days later, GGMC followed this up with a written cease work order.
“As a result, I am absolutely prohibited from working the said claims. That at no time whatsoever was I afforded any hearing by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission before they issued the said Cease Work Order and in the circumstances, I am advised by Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Attorney-at-Law, and do verily believe that the said Cease Work Order was issued contrary to the rules of natural justice and is unlawful, null, void and of no effect.”
Timmerman claimed that he is “unaware” of the reason why the cease work order has been issued and in the circumstances believed that it was arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and in breach of his legitimate expectation to work the said claims.
Timmerman claimed that since the orders, he is unable to work and “will suffer financial ruination unless the said Cease Work Order is lifted.”
Additionally, the miner claimed, the cease work order has effectively put 15 workers out of their jobs.
Timmerman claimed that last year, through his then lawyer, Basil Williams, he had filed court documents against a GGMC officer who issued the Cease Work Order.
“That I am advised by Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Attorney-at-Law, and do verily believe that both of those proceedings suffer from technical deficiencies and I intend to withdraw both proceedings.”
The matter comes up for a hearing on January 31st.