Miners’ claim that they sold illegal gold officially being probed
An investigation has been by ordered by Natural Resources and the Environment Minister, Robert Persaud, into claims by several miners from the disputed Marudi Mountains on the Romanex concessions that they paid royalties and sold gold to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
Speaking with the Government Information Agency (GINA) on Friday, Persaud said that his Ministry will not sanction any illegalities by either miners or GGMC officials.
“Overall, the bigger issue is regularisation and at the end of the day, they have all committed to doing so. No form of any illegal act will be tolerated and the GGMC and the Guyana Gold Board have been mandated to undertake a comprehensive investigation into these claims”.
Several miners from the Marudi area have claimed that, until recently, they were selling gold mined from the disputed area to GGMC and Gold Board officials. Several receipts have been reportedly produced to back up these claims.
On Thursday, NRE officials met with miners and among general concerns raised were efforts to end illegal mining in the Marudi Mountain and access to mining properties by small miners in the location.
According to GINA, it was agreed that through representatives of the Rupununi Miners’ Association, GGMC’s efforts to curb illegal mining will be through special planning and land management.
“This will also be used as a guide towards building government’s capacity to undertake integrated regional planning procedures and better manage its mapping, cadastral and land administration data base supported; they will collaborate with the GGMC and the Guyana Police Force in the ongoing investigation of the police-supported operation at Marudi Mountain where allegations of police excesses were made, and a Special Mining Lottery will be held on March 30, 2013 in Lethem for legitimate small miners/residents of Region Nine.”
The association also indicated its support of the on-going review of Romanex Mining Licence for the Marudi Mountain.
The GGMC also was mandated by the Minister to continue to engage the association on issues of concern and explore ways of supporting legitimate mining activities.
A few weeks ago, police and GGMC officials moved to the area to remove illegal miners.
However, a woman and her child were badly whipped by a police rank, according to a video of the incident. It was posted on YouTube.
It sparked widespread anger and forced the Commissioner of Police to order a probe. The Ministry and GGMC are also investigating.