GGMC intensifies monitoring and compliance activities

-in keeping with sustainable governance of the mining sector

As part of a renewed strategic vision for the extractive sector, particularly mining, the Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat has mandated the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to intensify monitoring and compliance in keeping with the Mining Act and Regulations.

This follows the relatively high price for gold and the much-anticipated gold rush which leads to illegal mining and raiding of legitimate mining properties. Hence, GGMC’s Mines Services Division had resuscitated its Prosecutorial Unit to combat the emerging trend of illegal mining.

Minister Bharrat pointed out that the dormancy of this unit resulted in a cavalier approach towards compliance by miners. The success of this unit has rapidly gained attention across the various mining districts, as the Commission intensify its efforts to combat illegal mining and preservation of safe working environment, he stated.

According to the Natural Resources Minister, the Unit is well supported by the field staff of the Division whose compliance checks were essential for filing the requisite charges in instances where offences were committed. Minister Bharrat has also mandated the GGMC to aggressively pursue illegal mining and operations that are not in keeping with safety and environmental standards.   

It must be noted, in the height of the COVID 19 pandemic, an opportunistic mine operator destroyed a section of the Cuyuni River, that resulted in extensive damage to the buffer area of the river. Field staff were alerted, and the resulting investigation found several offences were committed by the operator. As a result, the Commission has imposed a GY$ 12-million fine on the operator. 

Further, teamwork by field officers and the members of the Prosecutorial Unit combined their efforts to secure the first custodial penalty imposed on a miner for illegal mining. The miner was found to be operating illegally on a Prospecting Licence (PL) in the North West Mining District and refused to comply with repeated orders of the Commission to desist from such activities. 

In the meantime, the Ministry of Natural Resources through the GGMC will continue to take a firm stance against illegal mining and prosecute defaulters, in keeping with the Mining Act and Regulations, for the sustainable governance of the mining sector.