Authorities have announced new measures on sand mining with increased checks
and more monitoring to ensure the correct royalties are paid.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment yesterday, new measures are in place to see sand pit operators be held more accountable.
The new monitoring, billing and royalty payment system was approved and implemented by the Board of Directors of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) last month.
“Stakeholder meetings were held with sand pit owners/operators and truckers to sensitize them of the new measures that would be instituted and to familiarize them with what is required and expected under the new system, as well as why it was being introduced.”
According to the Ministry, at the meeting, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, technical managers of GGMC and sand mining stakeholders agreed on various actions to be considered and implemented.
“After this, several follow up meetings were held and all stakeholders were briefed on the new course of action for the management of the sand mining sub sector.”
Previously, operators were the ones who would declare production records to GGMC. It has all changed now.
“Royalties were paid by operators based on their declarations of sand extracted. Quarterly surveys were done by the Commission to verify the sand extracted by each sandpit.”
But regulators found that in some cases, operators were under-declaring their production.
Under new systems, sand pit operators/owners will be required to purchase “Conveyance Books” from GGMC.
“At the point of selling sand to truckers, each sand pit operator is required to complete a Conveyance Slip in triplicate, stating the tonnage of sand sold and the name of the pit extracted from.”
The operator is required to provide the original to the truck driver, keep the duplicate for his records, and retain the triplicate in the Conveyance Book for submission to GGMC.
The Ministry said that under the new system, truckers are required to present the original Conveyance Slip when requested by a Mines Officer of GGMC.
“At the end of the month, the Conveyance Books are then required to be submitted to GGMC and all accrued royalties paid.”
GGMC said it will be conducting a monthly physical survey of the sand pits to ensure that the tonnage extracted is the same as the tonnage declared via the Conveyance Slips.
“Any variations would be billed to the sand pit operator and payments must be made by the 14th day of the next month.”
GGMC even has a system in place in which new Conveyance Books are required to be uplifted from its offices, irrespective of the fact that the old book may have unused slips.
“Therefore, each sequence in a Conveyance Book is unique to a particular month and not used after. Sand pit operators who do not honor their royalty obligations are issued with a Cease Work Order (CWO) and are unable to uplift any new Conveyance Books for use in the next month until all outstanding royalties are paid.”
GGMC made it clear that its officials routinely monitor and patrol the East Bank corridor with trucks without the slips unable to proceed after being stopped.
“It is in the truckers’ interest to ensure that slips are received for each load of sand being transported.”
According to the Ministry yesterday, the new systems are part of a bigger review of the mining sub-sectors.
“GGMC continued its ongoing systematic review of all mining sub-sectors to ensure that current policies and mechanisms are adequate and to have critical interventions that would ensure resources are efficiently utilized and the revenues from these resources are available for the development of the country and the people of Guyana.”
Already, the gold and diamond mining sub-sector has undergone and continues to undergo policy changes and increased monitoring of mining and mining related activities.
“In this regard, the monitoring of sand mining operations is of critical importance, given the role that it plays in the physical development process of Guyana and its contribution to national revenue generation.”
The new measures were taken given the limited monitoring and oversight mechanisms that existed for the sand sector, the Ministry said yesterday.
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