The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and police are investigating reports that a prolonged mining claim dispute between two parties has escalated with one group firing shots at the other and invading their camp.
Edgar Daniels, who has a claim in Upper Puruni, has alleged that men hired by a prominent miner have been “invading” his camps, and using firearm to “bully, intimidate, and rob” his crews during the past 14 months.
In a statement sent to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud, the GGMC Commissioner and Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell, Daniels alleged that a group of men, hired by the same miner, invaded his Upper Puruni claim on November 25, last.
According to the statement, the men fired shots at his crew, and forced them to hand over their earnings. He also alleged that the trespassers set up an unauthorized dredge on the site.
“It is because this behaviour has continued with impunity over the past months, despite the intervention of officers from the Guyana Geology and mines Commission that I resort to your involvement, as these latest acts, for the first time, put the lives of my men at risk, and require steps for their protection,” Daniels added in his statement.
Two senior police officials confirmed yesterday that they have received Daniels’s statement. An official from ‘F’ Division told Kaieteur News that he would send in ranks to the area once they are accompanied by mining officials.
However, the official said that the police will not be involved in any probe into who is the rightful owner of the claim.
But Daniels alleged that GGMC officials have already visited the area without waiting for the police to accompany them.
According to Daniels, the dispute started after he applied for a Prospecting Permit Medium Scale licence for the Upper Puruni area in 2004. He alleged that “irregular practices” by some elements acting on behalf of a prominent miner caused his application to be ignored and the properties awarded to the miner with whom he has the dispute.
“The matter eventually went before the court system, where, after the facts were reviewed, GGMC consented to an order instructing the Commission to issue the prospecting permits to me. Again, elements within the Commission neglected to effect the court order,” Daniels claimed.
He alleged that the other miner continued to appeal the decision, but the matter was finally resolved by the court on September 13, 2013.
“This may have triggered this escalation…to possess and control these properties by any and/ all means, regardless,” Daniels stated.
He alleged that while the issue was before the courts, the other miner was allowed to work on the properties, “in direct violation of the standard GGMC practice under such circumstances, there reportedly being approximately 14 dredges deployed at one time, which extracted in excess of 3200 ounces of gold during the period.”
“It would appear that they are trying to propagate the perception that they intend to continue and complete the illegal exploration of the gold and mineral resources in the area at all costs.”
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