Gov’t exploring opening-up new mining areas
GINA, GUYANA, Monday, November 7, 2016
The government will consider opening “pristine” mining areas even as it has allotted more than 200 plots of mining land to small miners since August through the Closed Areas Committee (CAC).
Chairperson of the CAC, Dela Britton told miners during an outreach in Lethem on Saturday, that 235 applicants have been approved for mining blocks. “A block constitutes 422 acres and so that is where we are. (We are) are still in the process of distributing those lands,” Britton said.
These mining lands are within Guyana’s six mining districts however, more than one miner raised concern following the disclaimer explained by Britton.
The Ministry has been issuing a disclaimer to applicants who have received lands. “We cannot guarantee that the block allotted will bear fruit; we cannot tell you whether it is rich in minerals or whatever form of mineral,” Britton said.
At the meeting in Lethem, a miner from the Marudi area pointed out, “When you guys talk just now about giving out blocks, lands or whatsoever, that would be land that people went way off prospecting, but it’s not paying.”
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that investigations were done to ensure that the lands are still productive. “We know that there are minerals in those areas, yes. I think that there is gold. We will not give areas where there is no gold at all,” Minister Trotman explained.
The Minister explained further that “we’re only recovering about 40 percent of gold on a spot and so many miners are going back.”
The CAC seeks to reform the allotment of mining lands to ensure that productive lands are given out, Minister Trotman added.
Previously, lands were allotted to miners through a lottery system. “Many of them have complained to me that it’s either swamp land, sand.
Some people said lands were up in the mountains, so we’ve tried to reform. I think we’ve tried not to repeat the mistakes of the past and to ensure that when a person gets land they get something that they had a hand in identifying,” Minister Trotman told GINA.
Meanwhile, Trotman said Cabinet is examining the possibility of “whether or not we open up new pristine areas” for mining.
In the meantime, Trotman said, “the boundaries for the six mining districts in Guyana have been set and we are ensuring that we preserve our environment, that miners respect the environment, that we respect, as well, the Amerindian land titling and extension process, and that we give lands that there are good prospects for getting gold.”
The CAC was formed by the Ministry of Natural Resources in February to address small miners’ need for land.
Applications are available for miners to apply for mining lands in the mining district of their choice. However, small miners must meet the CAC’s guidelines. Prospective applicants must have the requisite machinery, prior expertise in mining and were previously disenfranchised owners of blocks, Britton explained.
By Tiffny Rhodius