690,000 ounces of gold declared – 700,000 ounces targeted for 2017

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, December 29, 2016

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman today, said that the Ministry will be aiming for 700, 000 ounces in gold declaration in 2017. The Minister said that the Government is looking forward to all miners producing and declaring high numbers in 2017 and pledged to continue to support the industry.

Minister Trotman, while addressing the media at a year-end press conference in the Ministry’s boardroom, explained that in 2016 the Ministry of Finance had projected a gold declaration target of 550,000 ounces, an increase of 21.8 % over the previous year’s target. However, the Ministry, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB), privately worked towards a different target which was 650,000 ounces.

“As announced in the National Assembly recently, we surpassed that target. Today, I am ecstatic to announce that declarations stand at an unprecedented and whopping 690,000; the highest gold declaration figure in any calendar year in the history of gold mining in Guyana,” Minister Trotman declared.

The Natural Resources Minister pointed out that this success was as a result of the hard work of small and medium- scale miners who delivered the majority of this gold, along with Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources, which contributed  70% of the gold declared.

Minister Trotman recalled that when the coalition government took office in 2015, it recognised that some changes were needed in the regulation and management of the industry, especially since for years; GGB had a deficit of more than $9B.

“This demanded a comprehensive review of the 35-year old organisation, which upon completion, informed us that the Board has to transition into the role of regulator and diminish its role as a purchaser of gold,” Minister Trotman said. Therefore, the Ministry will be meeting with miners, miners associations, and gold dealers shortly to define the way forward.

Minister Trotman emphasised that the Ministry of Natural Resources has fought tirelessly for the continued existence of GGB since the Ministry believes that there is merit in having the organisation function as a regulator to monitor gold dealers. He commended miners for their performance thus far, and noted that the government will continue to explore best practices to enhance the GGB.

Meanwhile, the Minister disclosed that some 1.6 million hectares from the forest concession recently held by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) will now be divided into four smaller portions. “One of these portions will be used for conservation; a second will be made available to small loggers who are interested in pursuing   sustainable   logging   activities,   while   the   last   two   will   be   open   to multinational companies interested in operating larger concessions in an environmentally sustainable way,” Minister Trotman explained.

Interested and highly competent parties can submit expressions of interest for State Forest Exploratory permits up to January 20, 2017. The processing of applications will begin after the deadline for submission has closed and a new chapter of greater sustainability practices will begin in forestry and a reinvigorated focus on value added.

Further, Minister Trotman pointed out that the application for candidacy in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that was due before December 31 was delayed to the end of January due to the set back in the  identification of a coordinator. The Minister pointed out that in 2016, Guyana stepped closer to the submission of an application to become a member of EITI.

He pointed out that, “Guyana’s tripartite body of industry, civil society and government representatives has been established and was awaiting the appointment of a National Coordinator to create a work plan and complete the necessary processes for the submission of an application for candidacy.”

To date, economist by training, and overseas-based Guyanese, Dr. Rudy Jadoopat has been identified for the position.

Minister Trotman said that 2016 has been a very challenging and exciting year for the Ministry with mostly positive outcomes and a few negatives as well. However, “as we go forward into 2017, the Ministry recommits itself to improving the performance of the natural resources sector for the benefit of all Guyanese, and to being more open and accessible.”

By: Ranetta La Fleur