Dec 30, 2011 News
-government considers security checkpoints to stem hinterland crimes
A record-breaking 350,000 ounces of gold has been declared for the year so far- almost 50,000 ounces more than the 2010 figure.
And according to the government, yesterday, there may be a rush to sell before the end of the year tomorrow.
It will be the highest annual declarations from small and medium scale miners since Omai Gold Mines Limited ceased its large-scale production and handed back its facility to government in early 2009.
With gold on a record-breaking high this year, amidst low investors’ confidence in the dollar and other currencies, miners around the world have been cashing in.
Last year, local declarations were 300,000 ounces and the industry had targeted 308,000 ounces for this year.
However, the prices for gold has moved to nearly US$1,900 per ounce but slipped to around US$1,600 in recent times.
The 350,000 ounces may be only a fraction of what is actually being produced, as much of the precious metal is being smuggled or sold to illegal buyers who fail to report the transactions.
This much was admitted by Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud, yesterday.
This year, the mining industry, because of the gold rush, has been plagued by reports of a high number of crimes in the camp areas and waterfronts.
Several murders, robberies and raids by bandits have been reported with not a week going without the newspapers carrying something sensational.
Questioned yesterday about the issue, which has been a burning one for especially the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, Minister Persaud, admitted that it is one of concern.
Already, the security forces through the Ministry of Home Affairs, and other stakeholders are considering several options, including establishing strategic outposts along the mining districts.
The Chairman of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Major General (rtd) Joe Singh, a former Army Chief, has been engaging miners on this critical issue, Persaud disclosed.
Crime in the goldfields, has been a major challenge for GGMC, which regulates the mining industry, for years now because of Guyana’s terrain. The many waterways and dense forest has proven time and again to be a major challenge to police.
Last year, Prime Minister Sam Hinds, whose portfolio then covered mining, had warned that the industry will be going through rapid adjustments.
He was upset that evidence suggested a glaring disparity between the buoyancy of the gold jewelry business and the official figures of less than 500 ounces per year purchased by jewelers.
Under Guyana’s regulations, jewelers are only allowed to buy gold from the Guyana Gold Board (GGB).
However, over time, many jewelers and miners have illegally been dealing with each other and evading fees to the Guyana Gold Board.
Many mining employees are being paid in gold and would trade this with dealers and jewelers across the country.
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