– will bring in $100B at current price
Miners say that they have set themselves a hefty target of 500,000 ounces of gold, a 60 per cent increase from last year, which at the current rate would bring Guyana revenues of $100B at the current high world prices.
According to the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) yesterday, the projection is motivated by the outstanding performance of the industry last year and the expectation that in 2010 better recovery systems and greater productivity will ensure an even better year.
GGDMA’s statement comes at a time when the gold and diamond mining industry is set to face new measures from government.
A six-month notification to be given by miners being studied by a President-appointed committee, the Land Use Committee, headed by Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, is set to hand over its recommendations to President Bharrat Jagdeo when he returns from his trip to Russia.
Yesterday, Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, said that this committee would meet with President Bharrat Jagdeo next week.
Already, miners have rejected the six-month proposal and are unhappy over another which stipulates possible notification to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). On Monday, miners and residents of Bartica, a gateway to mining communities in the interior, closed that town down in protests of the proposals.
On Thursday, GGDMA visited Port Kaituma, Region One, where miners decided to hold back protest actions over the proposals until a meeting next Thursday with President Jagdeo to discuss mining issues, among other things.
Yesterday, GGDMA said that it remains committed to productive work with the Land Use Committee.
The GGDMA said that it is currently representing all miners in negotiating the removal of the six-month requirement since if it is allowed to go ahead, it will promote “stagnation of the industry while the invested (financial) resources accrue interest resulting in the bankruptcy of miners.”
GGDMA also says that it is asking for the removal of the GFC “as the final veto over the commencement of mining in any particular area. The peculiarities of mining and logging are as different as day and night. The mineral wealth of Guyana resides in the subsurface and not in the canopy.”
The association also disclosed that it is demanding that the government “set aside” approximately ten percent of state lands specifically for mining in a mechanism that will allow for greater productivity and sustainable management.
The association is convinced that gold prices being what they are, and estimated to continue to rise, will ensure that the industry continues to outperform all other sectors in Guyana.
“This is particularly significant since the gold and diamond sector is completely managed by private capital and does not receive government subsidy or financing unlike other sectors. The association is confident that the current negotiations with the Government of Guyana for the withdrawal of the six months notice and the setting aside of the seven to ten percent of state lands for mining will help to inspire confidence in the sector and spur new investments while improving the livelihood of all Guyanese.”
Under the theme “Mining and Economic Development with the Environment in Mind”, GGDMA said that it will continue to work with the government and other agencies to improve mining practices and environmental sustainability.
“The association however wishes to emphasise that mining, contrary to the various public assertions and advertisements, is not a major contributor to the degradation of the environment. Gold and diamond mining is regulated by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and subject to the environmental laws of Guyana.”
The association in its statement explained that mining is an extractive industry, the gold in Guyana lies beneath the surface and can only be removed by disturbing the land.
“Once the area has been mined, the land is restored and re-vegetation of the area is visible in as little as six months after restoration. Addition mining disturbs only about 6,000 acres of land annually and not the 60,000 acres as has been maliciously articulated.”
GGDMA disclosed that it is currently engaged in negotiations with government on behalf of all miners to ensure that the industry does not become stagnated by the current proposals for six months notice at the consent of the GFC.
“The mining sector in Guyana is Guyana’s largest export earner with last year being the highest recorded gold declaration by small and medium scale miners. Mining in Guyana demands to be recognised for its contributions having developed several interior townships which, today, continue to depend on the revenues of the industry to sustain their development,” GGDMA urged. Townships like Mahdia, Matthew’s Ridge, Bartica, Port Kaituma, and Kwakwani are just a few areas which depend almost entirely on the revenues of mining. The contribution of mining to the Guyanese economy can be seen in revenues paid to the national coffers, employment of over 100,000 persons and employment and investment in almost every sector of Guyana.
“The GGDMA is demanding that our industry be recognised for its contribution and treated with the same level of respect and interest given to the other productive sectors in Guyana.”
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