Health and safety issues must be addressed before mining resumes at Marudi -Min. Bharrat

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, MP, says several health and safety issues must be addressed in the Marudi Mountain, in the Deep South Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), before mining could resume there.

Speaking to Toshaos recently, Minister Bharrat said concerns have been raised by stakeholders during consultations at Aishalton, and the Rupununi Miners Association, Romanex.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, MP, addresses Toshaos of Region Nine.

He said objections have been raised by villagers and other persons regarding threats to the environment, the exploitation of Indigenous People, and illegal activities occurring at the landing.

“Pertaining to the destruction of the medicine bush, pertaining to the pollution of the water ways, these are all issues that were raised, also pertaining to health and safety and also the coastlanders coming and exploiting and taking advantage of Indigenous People in the region, now these are all concerns that are valid,” Minister Bharrat said.

The natural resources minister said a safe environment is important to the Government. He said the Administration will not tolerate illegal drugs, alcoholism, and prostitution.

The minister said the Government wants to address the issues before mining restarts to prevent recurrence.

“I know it is important to the economy, the regional economy and the village economy, because it creates employment and it generates income for villages and the people within Region Nine, but we want to assure you that whenever operation or mining activities is restarted in Marudi; One, environment is critical, two, pollution will not be tolerated, three, miners will have to follow regulations, four, the illegal activities at the landing will have to stop, it will have to stop and fifth, the small miners will have to support the village economies.”

By supporting the village, he said miners will purchase produce from the Aishalton Farmers Association, and employ local Indigenous workers.

Mining in the Marudi Mountain has been a contentious issue for a number of years, with conflict between Romanex, small miners and villages.