– small miners allowed to conduct mercury-free operations
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has formally ordered the reactivation of the mining licence of Romanex Guyana Exploration Ltd., thus paving the way for that company to undertake exploration and mining activities in the Marudi Mountain area, Rupununi.
According to the Ministry, yesterday, the area had been characterized by irregular mining, with persons occupying lands in the area after operations of Romanex had ceased some time ago.
The Minister’s decision to approve the operations follows a process of verifications, meetings and engagements held between the mining company, the Rupununi Miners Association and the Guyana Women Miners Organisation on the best way forward.
More than 300 small scale gold miners, who had been operating in and around the Marudi Mountain area, had called on the government to take urgent action to regularize their operations in light of recent moves by the Canadian-owned company to resume operations in the area.
“Additionally, the residents of South Rupununi have lodged complaints of illicit movement of people, weapons and narcotics in the area.
As a result of this call, and the concerns and complaints made, the Ministry of Natural Resources appointed Major General (Retired) Joe Singh to hold mediation discussions between the aggrieved parties.
This was done between April 22 and April 25, 2016. An agreement was successfully brokered between the various stakeholders.”
The Ministry disclosed that one of the agreed terms of the agreement is that the company, on commencement of exploration and mining, would accommodate miners seeking to mine in the area provided that they abide by the rules of the company and the laws of Guyana, including the non-use of mercury in their recovery.
According to the Ministry, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, was in Lethem over the past weekend.
He reportedly gave an undertaking that within one month, members of the Closed Areas Committee (CAC) and officers of the GGMC will be visiting the area to meet with residents and miners to give anyone displaced by Romanex’s operations an opportunity to submit applications for lands and/or raise other matters connected.
The Marudi Mining Licence (ML) /1-2009 had been in regulatory suspension since October 16, 2014 for issues of non-compliance.
“Thereafter, Arctex, et al, entered into an agreement to purchase the shares of Romanex on March 13, 2015. Arctex became the de facto owner of the mining licence subject to technical and financial scrutiny.
According to the Ministry, following a technical presentation by Arctex/Romanex on April 10, 2015, the GGMC presented them with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in July 2015.
“The resumption of Romanex’s activities will be done according to an approved work plan, which will be monitored by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the GGMC, and is expected to see increased economic activity in the Rupununi,” the Ministry assured.
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