Scores of miners are reportedly opting for a government-backed establishment of syndicate which will not only allow them to access lands but also fight against landlordism.
The National Mining Syndicate explained yesterday that its formation will not only eliminate conflicts but deal with exploitations and disadvantages at the hands of these landlords.
The formation would come after weeks of meeting recently with teams from the Ministry of Natural Resources, including Minister within the Ministry, Simona Broomes.
“Small miners in Guyana can now comfort themselves with the introduction of this new era of ‘Hope and Empowerment’ through the syndicate system. We the Mining Syndicate must commend the Ministry of Natural Resources through the Honorable Minister Simona Broomes, in its efforts at empowering small miners, by awarding much needed mining lands to syndicate groups – a great asset in mining,” the group said in its statement.
It is unclear who is heading the group.
“This will eliminate the conflict, exploitation, and disadvantages suffered by small miners at the hands of landlords. It is well known in the mining sector that land owners use this playground for exploitation in the history of mining in this country, where demands for unreasonable tributes were demanded from small miners in their daily quest for survival.”
In recent weeks, there were reports of a fringe group of miners who are refusing to acknowledge the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) which they said is only looking at the interests of few big miners.
“Ownership of productive mining land is a giant step in the right direction. There are many testimonies of miners being evicted unfairly and relocated due to conflict and breach in agreement of miners and landowners.
“Moreover, however hard the truth is, 9.5 out of every 10 cases, small miners are the victims. This brings us to the point of making the public aware and to understand why so many small miners are either out of business or bankrupt to the point of no return.”
The statement explained that the syndicate system is a collective effort where small miners will work collaboratively in the best interest of all miners, while honoring the mining regulations.
“As is known, many miners operate in isolation and as such were vulnerable to their own encounters. However, with the syndicate system this would be a thing of the past.”
The Mining Syndicate assured that it is a structured, organized group of competent and experienced persons, which will be managed by a board, to ensure fairness and compliance in every regard to the laws and proper mining practice relative to Guyana.
“Small miners who suffered over the years can now regain hope and assurance that there is indeed a silver lining behind every dark cloud.”
The syndicate said that it will advocate with boldness to bring an end to abuse and exploitation of small miners by local “mining monarchs”, bring ownership and renewed hope for small miners with proper representation and equality for all levels of mining.
“Finally we wish to state that there are many benefits of a compliant mining industry, both micro and macro levels. From a small miner’s perspective, Guyana stands to benefit from taxes remitted from mining which in turn can be used to develop hinterland infrastructure.”
The absence of proper infrastructure can be a burden and many times incur high cost on miners and an opportunity for transport service providers’ exploitation of small miners, the syndicate noted.
“This era marks the end to many atrocities endured by small miners, including the end mark for groups who deceived the public into believing it represented the interest of all miners.
“We also wish to clearly state that a compliant mining industry will see benefits for all miners, which includes the many concessions from the government that were withheld from small miners.”
Thousands of persons have been trekking to harsh hinterland area where billions of dollars have been expended to enter new mining areas, invest on equipment and pay workers.
With gold prices on a high for the last eight years, foreign currency earnings have helped to buoy an economy that has been struggling. Gold was the biggest earner in recent years, raking in more than US$850M last year alone in foreign currency.
Miners have been demanding new lands and concessions, complaining of victimization and asking for better infrastructure.
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