Jul 05, 2018 News Comments Off on Gold Board ‘burning’ issue awaits upgraded system at new H/Q – entity ‘not taking any chances’
Despite moving to a new headquarters in Queenstown, the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) is not immediately going to start burning gold again until it is convinced that everything is in place.
Yesterday, the new Crown Street office started operations, even with ongoing works to the building.
Chairman of the GGB, Gabriel ‘GHK’ Lall, said that the burning of the gold sold to the board is still being done at the Pure Diamonds location, on Duncan Street.
“We are open, but we had to shift back to the Pure Diamond location on Duncan Street as we are not fully completed with the mercury emission control system,” he told Kaieteur News yesterday.
Gold Board, the regulatory arm charged with overseeing gold purchases and licensing of dealers and exporters in the country, has been under scrutiny, along with sister agency, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), after it was disclosed that several staffers had tested positive for high levels of mercury at the Brickdam location.
It was believed that staffers, from both agencies, were affected from the burning of gold under unsafe conditions there with the system used to trap the mercury emissions not working or nonexistent.
A number of staffers from both entities have been sent home. There were unconfirmed reports mercury-related of deaths
However, the findings of an investigation from experts of the (World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) who are engaged by Government are not out yet.
Yesterday, the Gold Board chairman, in disclosing millions have been spent in constructing a new mercury emission control system, said that while PAHO and WHO officials had expressed verbal satisfaction, Gold Board will not be taking any chances.
“They had pronounced very positive to the engineer when it was about 75 percent completed. They are going to put that in writing to the ministers with a few recommendations. They said they liked what they saw.”
Lall said that he is confident that the new system will work safely, from initial indications, but Gold Board wants to ensure all stakeholders, from Government, to labour, to residents and others before full operations start at the Queenstown location.
“The bottomline is when we start gold operations the emissions control system will be working very well and emissions will almost near to zero.”
Lall said that he and management have been meeting with neighbours and others, but there are no objections to the operations at this time.
“We are committed to do it cleanly on the table and doing it right.”
Questioned, he disclosed a few staffers have been sent on leave after their levels of mercury were found to be high, though not tremendously above safety levels.
“We are monitoring them. That is our priority.”
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