Guyana Gold Board seeking to return its operations to normality; appeals for continued patience

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – It has been approximately one month since the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) ceased burning raw gold in the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Brickdam Complex due to health and safety concerns.

The Guyana Gold Board seeks to assure miners and the general public that Safety and Health remain paramount concerns to the agency, as well as to the government. As such, remedial actions are underway with a view to returning the situation to a state of normality in the shortest time possible. These include continuous testing for the presence of mercury, cleaning of the compound and equipment and fast-tracking arrangements for relocation of the GGB’s facilities and staff.

The current arrangements in place for burning of raw gold at the facilities of one of our licenced dealers are temporary and we very much appreciate the cooperation of miners and the general public. We are moving ahead with plans for permanent modern facilities at a new location and at the appropriate time we will disclose the details of those arrangements. These discussions are engaging the highest levels of Government with a view to resolving the issues.

While we wish to remind the public that the Guyana Gold Board does not itself use mercury in any of its processes – as the Board deals with sponge gold and not amalgam gold – the agency is in full support of the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana’s commitment to the Minamata Convention meant to reduce and altogether eliminate the use of mercury and in the development of a Green Economy for Guyana.

President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana David A. Granger declared in 2017 that Guyana takes the protection of its environment very seriously and it is time for firmer action to be taken to prevent environmental degradation and loss of human lives. “I think that it is very important because the reckless use of mercury could be harmful to the population and, of course, it can cause damage that would last a very long time. It is my intention not just to reduce, but to eliminate the use of mercury in the mining industry,” the President is quoted as saying.

Guyana signed on to the Minamata Convention, which aims to reduce the risks of mercury around the world, in October 2013.



What is amalgam gold?

Amalgam gold is defined simply as an alloy of gold and mercury, with the gold dissolved into the mercury. The mercury, upon separation and removal from the raw gold, is then recycled.

What is sponge gold?

Sponge gold can be defined as a soft, yellow, corrosion-resistant element said to be a malleable and ductile metal, which occurs in veins and alluvial deposits and which is recovered by mining, panning, or sluicing.