GGMC and GGB Response to news item in Kaieteur News on mercury levels at GGMC compound

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) refer to the news article in Kaieteur News edition of Saturday, March 17, 2018 titled, “Mercury-related health conditions of GGMC workers at crisis stage -Tests show many in “danger zone””.

Both the GGMC and the GGB acknowledge that there was a problem with mercury emissions, even though there is disagreement that matters are at a “crisis stage” and that many are “in danger zone.”

Both the GGMC and the GGB believe that this matter is under control because of the many measures taken.  The GGMC and the GGB have collaborated in the past several weeks to enhance mercury management activities at the Brickdam Complex, so that there are no emissions of mercury during daily operations. This is in addition to measures that were already in place, and part of operational routines which had included regular testing of workers.  The following have also been conducted:

  • Comprehensive inspection of the entire emissions control system;
  • Timely refurbishing of all areas and aspects of related systems;
  • Physical extension of emissions chimney;
  • Satisfactory testing of work and resulting emissions;
  • Arranging for written assurances (warranties) as to work performed;
  • Continuing with an aggressive maintenance schedule;
  • Recruiting external monitoring parties for safety certification purposes; and
  • Continuous monitoring to detect any suspicious levels

Additionally, there have been frank and timely communications with GGMC staff.  Specifically, the GGMC has communicated to those few staff members who have an elevated mercury level that all efforts will be made to have them evaluated and treated, in line with guidance shared by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).  While there is indeed a situation where the typical treatments are presently unavailable, the GGMC has made other arrangements to address this shortfall.

The GGMC and the GGB wish to assure everyone that the matter of mercury emissions is of serious concern and engages the highest levels of attention from its senior administrators. The GGMC and the GGB, stand fully committed and involved through continuous monitoring to control the situation to meet all acceptable safety levels.

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