Guyana Gold Board had encouraging year in 2018 despite challenges

Ministry of Natural Resources, January 9, 2019

In spite of several major challenges, 2018 turned out to be an encouraging year for the Guyana Gold Board.  It was not as solid as hoped for; but it ended up being better than was thought likely, in view of prevailing conditions.

Total declarations from all sources, as of December 31, 2018 amounted to 613,073 oz. which was only 6.22% lower than 2017.  The foreign exchange value of exports processed on behalf of dealers and itself at the GGB came to US$443,961,666.  Among the factors responsible for the marginal differences between the 2017 and 2018 figures, as advanced by mining bodies and dealers are: inclement weather, unnavigable roads, and depressed metal prices in the first three quarters of 2018.  Declarations from dealers did indicate some strength in the latter part of the year.  The Hon. Minister of Natural Resources Raphael G. C. Trotman M.P., and the board and management of the GGB express appreciation to licensed dealers Mohamed’s Enterprise, and El Dorado Trading, which finished first and second respectively in total declarations and exports of gold.  Other dealers that contributed are: Pure Diamond, Dinar, Excel, Adamantium Metals, GBTI Property Holdings Inc., and Gold Bar Development.

All circumstances considered, it was a trying year for the Guyana Gold Board.  It stayed faithful to its legal mandate to buy gold, to process exports, and to implement and enforce tougher regulatory standards and requirements.  This was achieved through a mercury-related health and safety development; ongoing media scrutiny; environmental interest; customer inconvenience and staff concerns.  On separate occasions, two highly qualified teams from PAHO visited the old and current GGB operations complexes, conducted exhaustive tests, and reported in writing that emissions were well within internationally recognized safety limits.  This was most comforting.  Management of the GGB has since moved to obtain required equipment, implement measures, and enforce the recommendations made by the PAHO teams; this emphasizes the high priority placed by the GGB on the health and safety of customers, staff, and the general public.  At this point, the GGB publicly thanks Mr. Sergio Matos and the staff of Pure Diamond Inc., a licensed dealer, for the helping hand and courtesies extended during a difficult time.  In addition, the staff of the GGB performed admirably during very challenging times and circumstances.

With regards to 2019, declarations and exportation projections are expected to be 651,000 oz.  It is believed that these numbers are feasible and achievable, once there is a confluence of positive contributory components.  The GGB looks forward with much anticipation to what 2019 brings.

Meanwhile, in 2019 work continues apace on 1) managing and enhancing existing emissions control mechanisms; 2) searching for and obtaining a new and permanent home; 3) prioritizing and fulfilling CFATF and NRA AML/CFT standards; 4) embarking on pending capital projects; 5) reducing legacy deficits at the Bank of Guyana and the Ministry of Finance; and 6) continuing training of staff on professional standards, values and ethics.  Most, if not all, of these undertakings revolve around the presence of a new, fixed home for the GGB, at the earliest opportunity.  The Board of Directors and management are appreciative of the support of the Hon. Minister of Natural Resources, its customers, the dealers and exporters, the neighbours in its temporary location, and other partners and well-wishers.  It could be a very positive year, which is looked forward to with much enthusiasm.

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