$3B to develop roads, other infrastructure in mining communities

Miners will benefit significantly from some $3 billion which will be utilised to further develop roads and other infrastructure in mining communities this year.

Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat said the investment forms part of government’s commitment to develop the non-oil sectors.

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat

“In 2022, we are expending close to $3 billion on hinterland infrastructure. That is mining and logging roads and we will continue to ensure that these roads are in good condition so that you can access properties,”the minister said at the opening of the two-day Quarrying, Mining and Exploration Conference, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday.

He noted that government is working to make more land available to small and medium scale miners. The minister said that it is one of the major challenges in the industry.

“This is something that we are looking at. A few weeks back President [Dr Irfaan Ali] met with a group that is representing small miners in Guyana and two of the major concerns were access to land, that is the availability of land and also gaining access to the lands wherever they are located.”

A mining operation in the hinterland

He reiterated government’s commitment to supporting the mining sector, noting that the production of gold, diamond, bauxite and other minerals was the highest contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) prior to the oil and gas sector.

In 2021, the gold mining subsector represented 8.8 per cent of the country’s GDP, representing the third largest non-oil sector of the economy and more than 60 per cent of Guyana’s total non-oil export earnings.

In February, President Dr Irfaan Ali disclosed that the nation’s gold reserve stood at US$35 billion.

“I want to re-confirm our president’s pledge, our government’s pledge that we will continue to build the non-oil economy of which mining is one of such sectors that we will continue to work with because a lot of Guyanese are employed directly in mining and many more indirectly”,Minister Bharrat told miners.

Since August 2020, miners have enjoyed significant support from government. This includes the removal of Value Added Tax on All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and lubrication oils which are integral to the daily operations in the sector.

Miners are also now enjoying the removal of exercise tax on fuel, the reduction of the sliding scale final tax to 2.5 per cent and the removal of the 10 per cent Tributors Tax.