Gold target shattered – small miners contribute nearly 70% – Minister Trotman

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, December 9, 2016

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman last evening declared that Guyana has surpassed and shattered its gold target for 2016, reaching over 641,000 ounces. The announcement was made during the third day of the 2017 National Budget debate in the National Assembly.

This is the highest gold declaration in the history of Guyana. The historic feat is more than the projected target of 550,000 ounces and has earned Guyana over US$730M.

This reality, Minister Trotman noted, completely denounces the claims by Members of the Opposition that the mining sector, more specifically gold, needs more input from the government. Opposition Member of Parliament (MP, Juan Edghill earlier in the afternoon, said the government is guilty of negligence of the extractive sector.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman making his presentation to the National Assembly during the National Budget Debates

The Opposition MP noted that the budget measures will destroy the economy adding that, “the one sector, that is doing well, they have now put a strangulation on it by way of these measures.”

However, Minister Trotman stated that with the achievement that gold has made this

year thus far, it is clear that the government’s input to the gold sector is more than sufficient.

According to Minister Trotman, medium and small scale miners played a significant role in the historic accomplishment. Minister Trotman stated that nearly 70 percent of the gold recorded, was accounted for by the medium and small scale miners, and for which they must be applauded.

“I congratulate them on behalf of His Excellency, President David Granger and to assure them that the APNU+AFC government will never abandon nor undermine their efforts,” the Minister emphasised.

For the year 2017, the gold target has been set to 694,000 ounces. The Minister said it is a difficult but not impossible target to reach. “I am confident that we can achieve this target as we expect that all categories of gold declarants will continue to grow,” the Minister explained.

Additionally the mining sector broke another record with over 109,000 metric carats of diamonds as of October 2016. The Minister said this achievement earned Guyana over $73M.

However, the Minister pointed out that for 2017 there has been seven deaths which are too many and required three commissions of inquiries. According to the minister, steps have already commenced to tackle the issue.

that “in this regard, a mines safety plan of action was developed including strategies for occupational health and safety measures”, the Minister stated.

Additionally, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) will be conducingt regular sweeps in all the mining districts to ensure there is compliance with the safety guidelines. This will allow for sanctions to be laid on errant miners effective in 2017. The Minister however urged that miners also be aware that they have a responsibility to ensure that they follow mining regulations.

“We will help to cultivate a culture of self-regulation in the sector as collaboration is essential to tackle this issue” the Minister stated.

Minister Trotman noted that to further ensure that mining is conducted in a more efficient, safer manner, over 300 miners and new entrants havebeen trained. The Minister pointed out that in 2017, the Ministry of Natural resources in collaboration with the University of Guyana aim to restructure the mining school and training centre.

This will see an update to the curriculum to integrate biodiversity management, petroleum exploration and production, emphasising mines safety and occupational health.

Plans for miners

An estimated $500M will be spent on the maintenance and rehabilitation of a number of interior roads. These include Port Kaituma, Karrau Village to Bert’s Hall Road, Puruni to Papishao, Issano road, Mabura road and Aishalton junction to Shea.

Minister Trotman stated that this will “enable miners and other stakeholders to move equipment and supplies with more ease to the benefit of their operations, and the industry as a whole through reduced operational cost.”

Approximately $76M is expected to be spent on developing the mining school while  $26.9M is estimated to be spent for technical support for miners. According to the Minister, this will provide on-site advice to general managers, miners and indigenous council representatives on improved mining practices.

Oil and gas

Minister Trotman pointed out Guyana made history after being formally notified by ExxonMobil that the discovery of oil in Guyana is of commercial quantity. The formal notification, the Minister said, was in keeping with the Exploration and Petroleum Act of Guyana.

By the end of the year 2016, Minister Trotman noted that the Ministry is committed to having a number of legislation completed and rolled out in 2017 for the further development for the oil and gas sector. These include the oil and gas policy, revised petroleum act and regulations, local content and regulations, Petroleum Commission Bill and the Petroleum and Fiscal Legislation.

The Minister pointed out that the draft Petroleum Commission Bill is ready to be tabled in the National Assembly. “I personally shared the Bill with a wide range of stakeholders including civil society, the private sector and the Opposition,” the Minister explained.

Minister Trotman in concluding his budget debate said Guyana must prosper; its citizens must proper, adding urging Members of the Opposition to support a worthy budget.

By: Isaiah Braithwaite