Jul 06, 2013 News
Miners, claiming pressure from a worrying fall in gold prices on the world markets, wants Government to relax duties on pickup vehicles and take actions against heavy equipment suppliers for price gouging.
According to the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), the concessions are urgently needed to help maintain viability in the mining sector.
Members of the recently elected executive of the GGDMA led by their President, Patrick Harding, and President of the Guyana Women Miners’ Organization (GWMO), Simona Broomes, met with Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud, senior officials of the Ministry, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) on Thursday to ask for relief.
“The aim of this meeting was to stress the GGMDA’s call for some concessions and to identify additional measures to cushion the decline in the price of gold.”
Among the issues discussed, the association said yesterday, were the relaxation of import duties and taxes on new 4-door pickup vehicles. “Safety for workers including women miners who would usually have to ride in the tray of these pick-up trucks was highlighted as good reason for the adjusting of the duty.”
The miners also complained that suppliers of heavy equipment were involved in price gouging and not honouring warranties on equipment sold.
Also raised during the meeting was a shortage of foreign currency.
“The unavailability of foreign currency to miners who sell their gold to the Guyana Gold Board was discussed as an outstanding problem, moreso since the miners need funds to import spares, etc, which will greatly assist their mining operations.”
According to the association, a mechanism for relief in the price of fuel was also discussed and a proposal will be presented to the Government of Guyana soon.
“The programme of interior roads was also discussed indicating key roads and bridges linking the hinterland/mining locations, thereby greatly assisting miners to transport their equipment and supplies to their locations.” The newly elected Executive Committee of GGDMA comprises Patrick Harding – President; Charles Da Silva – Vice President; Azeem Baksh – Treasurer; Terrence Adams – Secretary and Andron Alphonso – Organizing Secretary. Dabria Marcus, Chunilal Baboolal, Terry Singh, Mahendra Persaud are Committee Members, with Alfro Alphonso as the Past President.
“As a follow-up to this meeting, the GGDMA plans to meet with President Donald Ramotar later this month to accelerate actions on the issues which were discussed. The meeting between the GGDMA and Minister Robert Persaud, GGMC and GGB Officials is part of an ongoing agreement for monthly meetings to address issues in the Mining sector.”
Gold prices dropped even further yesterday to US$1223, after reaching a high of over US$1900 per ounce.
Gold was the biggest foreign export earner for the country last year with production the highest since large scale producer, Omai Gold, pulled out in mid-2000.
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