Guyana, Suriname collaborating on illegal gold trade
The leakage of gold through the country’s borders without the relevant taxes being paid is being addressed with a number of raids and other measures, Government said yesterday.
Responding to reports by the de Ware Tijd with headline “Suriname miners exported US$914M in gold last year-smuggling from Guyana suspected”, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment yesterday said that it is an issue of concern that has been raised before.
“Whilst the article mentioned the suspicion of gold being smuggled from Guyana to Suriname, the Government of Guyana has highlighted this issue of gold being undeclared and might be smuggled out of Guyana to various neighbouring countries, including Suriname, to avoid the accompanying royalty.”
According to Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Minister, Robert Persaud, his Ministry is calling on all stakeholders to clamp down on this illegality and to declare gold and avoid evasion of royalties.
According to the Ministry, the Government is examining possible areas of collaboration with its neighbours, including Suriname, to monitor, regulate and enforce cross movements in an effort to thwart the smuggling of gold and other illegalities.
It is the plan for the Ministry to collaborate with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Suriname to strategically enforce regulations to eliminate activities of illegal gold trade between the two.
Additionally, a number of initiatives are being implemented to combat this form of illegality, one of which is the launching of the campaign “Operation El Dorado” to target illegal mining, smuggling and other related activities.
“Also, more strategic interventions are being taken to combat illegal mining and smuggling through the establishment of a special inspectorate unit within the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, construction of 12 additional mining stations with check points to boost monitoring and expanding the services of the Guyana Gold Board at Port Kaituma, Charity, Bartica and eventually Lethem, which will allow for a more prudent trading of gold within Guyana.”
Meanwhile, according to the Ministry, Guyana’s gold sector maintained its position as the largest contributor to total mineral output of the economy and returned a record year in 2011 with production surpassing the OMAI gold mine highest output of 2004 by 2.5 percent.
At the same time, recording a third consecutive year above the 300,000 ounce mark, Guyana’s total gold exports for 2011 stood at US$517.1M, a 49.3 percent increase over 2010.
This is attributed to an expansion in gold mining as both the small and medium scale miners expanded their operations, spurred by favourable world market prices, while volume increased by 14.9 percent to 347,850 ounces.