Latest update May 31st, 2023 3:04 PM
May 14, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – The Government of Guyana (GoG) has revoked the registration for the Rupununi Miners Association Cooperative Society Limited.
In a notice published in the Official Gazette, dated May 6, 2023, the Ministry of Labour’s Chief Co-operatives Development Officer(ag), Debbie Persaud said, “By virtue of the power vested in me by Section 38(1) of the Co-operative Societies’ Act, Chapter 88:01, after holding an inquiry of Rupununi Miners Association Co-Operative Society Ltd, Regd. No. 2187 and being of the opinion that the Society ought to be dissolved I, hereby order that the registration of the Society be cancelled.”
The order also noted that any member of the organization may appeal the decision to the Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton within two months from the date hereof.
The Rupununi Miners Association represents small miners from a variety of Indigenous villages in the Hinterland region, including Parabara, Wakadanau and Marudi. The body was formed around 2012 amid fears that the larger mining companies would stifle their business.
In 2018, then President of the body, Marlon Johnson wrote a letter to Kaieteur News in which he detailed small miners of the Rupununi Mining District 6 united to have on voice in the dispute with Romanex Guyana Exploration Ltd.
Hundreds of small miners had appealed to government to fulfill a promise to address their concerns in the dispute with Romanex over mining access to Marudi Mountain, Region Nine area.
Kaieteur News had reported that Johnson said close to 500 miners have really been stretched out and they are at breaking point now.
“The miners have decided that if they cannot get the appropriate approval from the Government by the end of the new week, they will go ahead and start back working, with or without approval,” Johnson stated.
In 2017, a deal was brokered to regulate mining in the Marudi Mountain, about 70-80 miles from Lethem.
As part of an agreed menu of measures, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) facilitated the movement of miners to a new area that will accommodate structures and shops, so as to facilitate the smooth conduct of an ongoing Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in the area, which Romanex was required by law to complete before full-fledged operations can commence.
Several blocks of mining lands for miners who are part of the miner’s association and former occupiers of Romanex Mining lands were also earmarked, while another was identified for administration by the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO) for its members who are operating in Mining District 6.
The new lands made available were alongside the Romanex concession. Romanex acquired the rights for the concession decades ago.
Marudi Miners Association president stated that the lands they have been given do not have any sort of gold potential.
“That seems more like a joke to us. The only place that has gold potential is on the two mountains. As such, we are requesting one mountain be given to us and the other to Romanex in order for everyone to earn a living,” Johnson noted.
It was reported that Romanex’s mining licence was cancelled by the Government effective November 01, 2021, so as to facilitate small miners in Region Nine with an opportunity to engage in small scale mining activities.
Later that year however, a similar issue reoccurred when the Ministry of Natural Resources decided to sign away the mining lands at Marudi Mountain to a Canadian gold company without consulting with residents there. Government in a statement indicated that the new agreement will also allow for small scale miners in the area to resume operations.
The Ministry of Natural Resources came under fire for signing an agreement with the company to resume mining activities in Marudi, Region Nine without prior consultations with the villagers.
The Miners Association protested the fact that they only learnt of the agreement through a social media post, which resulted in an almost immediate visit by members of Cabinet.
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