The licences that bring legality to the operations of gold dealers in Guyana will soon be predicated on some additional requirements. Most of these requirements are said to be measures to ensure that the operations of these dealers are friendly to the environment, making it safer for Guyanese. This is according to the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman.
Recently, Trotman told Kaieteur News that gold dealers, who engage in burning of the amalgam to get mercury off gold at their various facilities across Georgetown, will now need annual environmental permits.
“We have made the need for an annual environmental permit a necessity. This is now part of a number of amendments to the Gold Board Act and Regulations that were discussed with the dealers and other stakeholders.”
Trotman said that he carried the Bill to Cabinet and it is under review. He indicated that when the review process is finished, he will have further consultations with gold dealers.
Additionally, Trotman indicated that he wrote PAHO/WHO for an expert to come to independently verify the system at the Gold Board “and we are awaiting the arrival of that expert.”
The Minister said that in the meantime “there is no burning of sponge gold by the Guyana Gold Board, which is the type of gold that is likely to contain mercury. So precautions are being taken at several levels”.
Earlier this year, the nation learnt that the burning of sponge gold at Guyana Gold Board’s Brickdam facility led to serious health complications for workers there. Several Gold Board and Guyana Geology and Mines (GGMC) employees were found to have elevated levels of mercury in their blood. It is believed that there were at least four GGMC workers who died over the last few years as a result of their exposure to high levels of mercury emissions. (Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell)
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