– six more to be launched countrywide soon
A $70M mining monitoring facility has been opened in Lethem, Region Nine, with Government on Thursday announcing that six more are to be launched in the next two months.
According to Government, the new outstation of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) will be part of the larger effort to enhance the supervision and management of the mining sector and increase legality, especially in Region Nine.
“That there is always a concern about the state’s ability to regulate the mining sector, particularly in gold mining, and also with the advent of oil exploration as potential resides even in this area…it has always been questioned whether we are investing enough in developing the type of capabilities and capacities to monitor, regulate and enforce and to ensure that we support the sector in its sustainable and viable growth,” said Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, who declared the facility open.
Persaud noted that while the sector continues to grow, it is imperative that mining is done in a manner that takes into account not only the obligations, but also ensures that it serves the community and the country as a whole.
For a number of years the mining sector has been believed to be under-regulated, and Minister Persaud noted that the Ministry has sought to rectify this issue.
“One of the first mandates I have given the board (GGMC) and the commission is that we must have a fixed, permanent presence, not only in traditional mining areas, but areas that we see new activities.”
To date, there are 15 new stations spread across the regions, including mobile stations, with an objective of facilitating staff to carry out their duties in a more comfortable atmosphere, have more focus on regulations, and monitoring and enforcement, particularly for Region Nine which has a sensitive biodiversity, as there are two protected areas and rich potential in terms of minerals.
Many of the residents in the region, especially in Aishalton, have indicated their interest in expanding their mining activities, but to do so in a way that doesn’t cause harm to the environment.
“By us having this kind of presence we will be able to work with the community in providing the opportunities and ensuring that we have a level of responsibility…we also recognise too that we have the threat, we sit right on the border and there has always been the complaint and the reality too, whereby we have seen some illegal movements of some of the folks from our neighbouring state, and we have always wanted to ensure that the agencies are present in this particular area, whether it’s immigration, GRA and now the GGMC, so that we can facilitate legal interface and legal involvement, because we have benefitted from miners and other investors from other states,” Minister Persaud further explained.
He said that this facility will allow the agency to have new undertakings and to involve the communities, stakeholders and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ensure that they are part and parcel of the development that is taking place in the region.
According to the Ministry, in terms of the movements of minerals in the area, it was noticed that some persons have been violating the laws in this regard. Minister Persaud stressed that with the advent of the facility and the soon-to-be Gold Board, anyone who engages in such activities will be dealt with.
With regards to moving the sector forward, he announced that soon there will be the presence of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) in the area to develop a similar synergy and coordination with the people.
Meanwhile, GGMC’s Chairman, Clinton Williams noted that the agency has been taking its responsibilities seriously, as it endeavours to ensure continuous development in the mining sector, making more lands available to ensure that the people benefit from the resources.
Region Nine’s Vice Chairman, Douglas Casimero, expressed gratitude to the Government for implementing such a facility in the region which will ensure more legality with regards to mining.
“This is another phase of development in the region. This facility will allow for more collaboration with the people and will bring to a halt the illegal activities that have been going on in the area,” Casimero said.
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