Mar 12, 2016 News
– Committee appointed to identify lands for small miners
Government has assured miners that there is no restriction on the importation of trucks older than eight years.
The disclosures were made recently when the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA) met with Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman and Minister within the Ministry, Simona Broomes.
According to the association yesterday, the issue of restriction of trucks was raised with the Ministers.
During his presentation of the 2016 National Budget in January, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, announced that Government was moving to restrict the import of vehicles that are older than eight years old.
During the recent meeting, the Ministers assured that once the vehicles are to be utilized in the mining industry (including the Model M and Model T trucks), there will be no restrictions.
Additionally, GGDMA said, it was advised that a committee has been convened and tasked with identifying lands for allocation exclusively to small scale miners in each mining district. The committee is expected to conclude its work in a couple of months.
Small miners have been complaining about not having access to lands with the majority in the hands of large operators.
The topic of gold smuggling was also discussed at length and the association said that it reminded the Ministry that it remains firmly against smuggling.
“Gold smuggling is unacceptable. It robs the industry of its true revenue position and deprives Guyanese and state of its resources. We call on the government to continue tightening all avenues, especially our ports of exit and entry and other porous areas on our borders, to rid us of this scourge and the negative publicity that it has brought our industry.”
GGDMA said it does not in any way or fashion condone smuggling and has always been reminding miners to sell their gold only to licenced dealers.
“We applaud the works being done by the government to stamp out smuggling. Smuggling not only affects the revenue collected by the state and as such, national development; it also has the damning effect of all miners, who are often painted with the same bad brush.”
The association insisted that the majority of miners are not involved in smuggling and are focused on self and national development.
“While we agree that smuggling is taking place, the figure being touted of 15,000 ounces per week is ridiculous, at least. It is very difficult for us to fathom that 15,000 ounces are being smuggled out of the country on a weekly basis as this amount equates to over 770,000 ounces per annum, this would be approximately double the average annual yearly declarations over the last few years.”
The association is hoping that over time more details are made available about these numbers so that clarity can be acquired regarding the origin of these numbers.
“Despite this discrepancy, the association remains steadfast, in that, not even one ounce should be smuggled.”
Gold miners have been becoming a stronger vocal group in the country over the last few years as world prices for the metal reached record levels.
Gold has regained its lead as the biggest foreign currency earner for the country.
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