– full-page advertisement flays Norway deal
As government contemplates a proposal of six months’ notice of intention by miners to commence operations, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) has called a Special Members Meeting, today, to “determine the future of the mining sector”.
High on the agenda of the meeting at the entity’s North Road, Bourda office, also, is whether the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) should have veto powers for mining in timber concessions.
The mining body will use the opportunity to peruse proposals by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to increase monitoring and readily detecting and disciplining infractions of mining laws and regulations.
GGMC Commissioner (ag), William Woolford, will also be present for the meeting, GGDMA said in its notice.
With Guyana’s government pledging to the world to maintain its forests in a pristine condition in return for cash, miners have expressed concern about their existence, as local authorities announced that a stricter eye will be paid to the mining industry to ensure that it is in keeping with regulations. A recent historic agreement with Norway to release US$250M to Guyana to keep its forests intact has also come under fire from the mining industry, with questions being asked whether the moves will compensate the thousands of persons who are dependent on the industry for a living.
A mining member of the GGDMA, Patrick Pereira, in an extensive five-page advertisement in one of the daily newspapers this week, opined that the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Guyana and Norway is an insult to President Bharrat Jagdeo and the country.
The statement accused the conditions laid out in the MOU as being a “clever weapon” of which the main purpose is to dispossess miners of hundreds of thousands of especially rich mineral lands.
Pereira argued that it is hard to understand why an important industry which only harvests 0.0294 of “uneconomic forested area yearly”, employing over 100,000 persons and producing US$400M, could be targeted for miniaturization.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, whose portfolio includes forestry, in a letter published in the January 7, 2010 edition of the Kaieteur News, was pellucid that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) will not lead to job loss.
He explained in detail that nowhere in the Norway/Guyana MOU does it say that forestry and mining activities will cease.
“In actual fact, page three of the “Frequently Asked Questions” supplement to the Draft LCDS document (June 2009) clearly states, “Mining and forestry activities will not be required to stop.
However, they will be required to strictly comply with standards set by our Mining, Forestry and Environmental Laws and the Low Carbon Development Strategy”.
According to the Minister, “the same document also states that mining and forestry will not be required to reduce their activities, but be allowed to continue in accordance with more stringent monitoring and enforcement of compliance”.
Persaud pointed out that the revenues from Norway and other potential partners are really additional to what the forestry and mining sectors will bring in.
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