Mining must not distress environment, indigenous communities – Minister Bharrat

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat is urging mining officers to push for the use of more sustainable mining practices so as to prevent any disruption of people’s lives or livelihoods.

The minister made the call during the opening of a three-day drilling and blasting course for officers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) at the Regency Hotel, Tuesday.

(L-R) Commissioner of Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Newell Dennison and Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat.

“We must ensure that we do it in a manner that we don’t cause any distress or destruction to the environment, to our indigenous communities, to the lives and livelihood of our people.”

“We would like to see the mining sector being accident free. We would like to see, as a matter of fact, a year without any fatalities in the mining sector. That is a challenge I think GGMC is taking very seriously.”

Participants of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Drilling and Blasting Course 2021

To assist in this regard, the minister said continuous training is important as the world is changing and adopting new methods every day.

GGMC Commissioner, Newell Dennison said he expects participants would be responsive and contribute to the efforts being made by GGMC and the Ministry of Natural Resources to ensure blasting in mining is properly carried out.

The training programme is being executed by Orica Mining Services, which has been training local mining officers over the years.

Representative of Orica Mining Services, Devindra Kissoon

Orica’s representative, Devindra Kissoon said the company is working to provide a pathway to certify blasters who already have field experience, so Guyana could have more qualified persons to meet the growing demand for quarrying and mining products.

Meanwhile, the PPP/C Administration is making every effort to increase production for the construction industry.

Minister Bharrat said “Only recently, we would have issued a number of new quarry licenses and there are quite a few more applications in the system.”

“Because our demand is way, way higher than what we are supplying right now.”

Participants of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Drilling and Blasting Course 2021

Guyana was forced to import over 200,000 tonnes of construction aggregate last year to meet the demand of 900,000 tonnes, as only about 650,000 tonnes were produced in country.  Minister Bharrat said that demand could reach 1.5 million tonnes in the next 2 years.