Nov 18, 2016 News
-Gov’t says matter still under consideration
The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO) yesterday urged Government to immediately stop considering an “idiotic” proposal to force local gold miners to accept three per cent less than the world market price for gold produced.
“No miner, under any circumstance will support this proposal. Our two associations are united in this position,” a statement from the two said yesterday.
“The GDDMA and GWMO wish to inform all miners that the Government of Guyana is seriously considering a scheme which would force small and medium scale gold miners to sell their gold for 3% less than the world market price to the Guyana Gold Board. At current market prices miners will lose $8,000 for every ounce of gold sold.”
This is a move to ensure that the “incompetent” and “mismanaged” Guyana Gold Board stays afloat, the association insisted.
However, contacted yesterday, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, said that the discussion on asking gold miners to pay a percentage below the “London Fix” price has been ongoing for many years.
“There are advantages and disadvantages to it. No decisions have been taken on this as the matter is before the Cabinet. In so far as the absence of consultation goes, the MNR believes that would be an unfair statement. We met with the executive of the GGDMA on Monday and this was one of the matters discussed.”
The ministry said that it was agreed to exchange documents and to meet again before any decisions are made. “It seems as though the GGDMA prefers to consult through press releases. The Ministry will still meet with the GGDMA again,” the Ministry said.
According to the associations: “We the miners, see this as another move designed to cripple local small and medium scale miners in a continued move by the current administration to miniaturize the local sector. The foreign companies, who mainly export their gold… will be exempt from this proposal.”
According to the associations, it is a fact that the Gold Board, due to mismanagement, lost over $10 billion of taxpayers’ dollars during the period of 2012 to 2014. This latest development is really a ploy by the administration to subsidise this failing institution, the statement said.
“Buying gold from local miners at the fixed world market prices has been the norm for the Guyana Gold Board and gold dealers in Guyana for over 20 years. If the Guyana Gold Board cannot run its operations and be profitable, in contrast to the privately licensed dealers, then it (should) cease operations immediately,” the associations urged.
The statement repeated claims that Government has already proposed to remove all assistance to the industry, including VAT relief, fuel relief, duty-free vehicle concessions and tax relief on spares and mining equipment.
Government has denied that it has taken such decisions.
“This along with potential hikes in rentals, more stringent regulations and additional taxation will certainly kill the already struggling local mining industry,” the associations said.
This new burden, if passed, will see miners now paying out almost 10% ($25,700 for every ounce) of the gold they earn to the Government of Guyana.
“This proposal has been tabled without any consultation with miners or the mining associations.”
The GGDMA and the GWMO said they were deeply concerned with the developments from an administration “who thus far has made only empty promises and has made life harder for the small and medium scale miners”.
“Despite all the rhetoric about consultations, this proposal was secretly developed and put into motion. We are now suspicious of all our previous consultations and ask the government, “Can we now trust your word? As representatives of the industry, do our words carry any weight at all when considering the decisions that you are making that will affect our livelihood? Or are these “consultations”, many times after the fact, just for show?”
The bodies said that they will be meeting with miners across Guyana to inform them about the impending changes and to discuss how it will affect their livelihood.
“This measure will not create jobs; it will kill employment and spending. It will plunge the already stagnant economy further down the spiral. Mining is the leading economic driver of the Guyanese economy and this proposal will kill “the goose that lays the golden eggs”. No other private sector industry currently provides more employment than mining. Crime is tied to unemployment, and in an already slow economic situation, killing of the mining sector will not solve the current problems Guyana faces, but it will magnify them.”
Pic filed as gold
Miners have objected to a proposal that will see Government charging three percent less than the world prices for gold.
Ayuh swallow ExxonM and Jagdeo spit, not me.
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