– Mohamed’s Enterprise is largest producer for fifth year
The official gold declarations figures have been released by Government with the metal last year regaining its lead ahead of rice and sugar pack in terms of foreign currency earnings.
According to Minister of Governance, with responsibility for Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, gold at the close of business at the end of 2015 surpassed the US$500M export earnings mark after low world prices saw poor performance in 2014.
It would have gone beyond US$700M a few years ago, but that was at a time when world prices were upwards of US$1,600 per ounce. It fell to US$1,060 per ounce last Thursday.
For the fifth consecutive year also, Mohamed’s Enterprise was the biggest producer/exporter to the Guyana Gold Board with approximately 160,000 ounces reportedly declared in 2015.
According to Minister Trotman, despite a significant drop in gold prices on the world market, and challenges in the mining sector over the past year, the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) has recorded 451,490 ounces of declared gold, surpassing the year’s target of 380,000 ounces.
“With the declarations, the GGB has recorded export earnings of approximately US$500 million, making the mineral, once again, the largest earner of foreign currency for Guyana,” he said in a statement.
The performance would be a significant achievement in a price-declining market environment and all miners, particularly small and medium-scale miners, must be commended, the official urged.
“The performance of the gold mining sector was very impressive and very encouraging. With better regulation and more opportunities for miners, we expect to do even better in 2016. “We are happy that the good life is coming to fruition,” Minister Trotman said.
He also noted that the declaration figures attest to the fact that gold is an important earner in the Guyanese economy and as such, Government will continue to support the sector by providing operational concessions to miners and supporting infrastructural works.
At the start of 2015, the London Fix quoted the price of gold at US$1,184. The market prices initially fluctuated around US$1,150 before showing increased volatility and declining to a five-year low of below US$1,100.
The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA) had appealed to the new Government for concessions and incentives.
In October 2015, the Government granted fuel and equipment tax concessions to small and medium-scale miners, and an agreement was signed by stakeholders; the Ministry of Finance, Guyana Energy Agency and the GGDMA.
“It was anticipated that despite the volatile gold prices, these concessions would energise production, thus ensuring the sector’s viability in 2016 and further into the future. With the re-introduction of large-scale gold mining in Guyana, Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources have contributed to the country’s total declaration, during the last quarter of 2015, increasing gold declaration and contributing to an overall increase of 16.5 per cent when compared to December 2014,” Trotman noted.
In 2016, he said, the Government will continue to review mining concessions to ensure that mining interests confirm with the Laws and Regulations governing the sector, while the Anti-Gold Smuggling Task Force will continue with its mandate to tighten loopholes to tackle gold smuggling, which has plagued the sector for some time.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Managing Director of Mohamed’s Enterprise, Nazar ‘Shell’ Mohamed, confirmed that his company, a licenced gold dealer/producer and Cambio, had racked up yet again the highest declarations for last year.
“I am happy to tell you that we have deposited to the Guyana economy almost US$200M in foreign currency earnings last year.”
Questioned about concerns over the industry, especially as it regards his choice of trading and other issues, the businessman pointed out that all of his company’s foreign trade businesses are conducted only with US-registered companies -including gold exports/sales and currency trading (physical and electronic trading).
“The US-registered companies are the most genuine, since they are governed by strict regulations and code of ethics enforced by the US Department of Commerce and Trade and Department of Treasury.”
“As a matter of fact, officials from the United States of America and world’s anti-money laundering regulatory bodies, have been visiting us to ensure compliance,” Mohamed disclosed.
“We are thankful to Government of Guyana, the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Central Bank and local Commercial Banks, and of course all our gold miners, producers and customers and our friends for making this accomplishment. Best wishes also for the New Year to President David Arthur Granger and his administration and the Opposition Political Parties. It is my hope that that they can work more closely this year for our development.”
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