Minister Broomes meets with Quarry following cease orders

– millions owed in royalties to be clarified with GGMC

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, June 1, 2018

Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes has met with quarry owners and representatives to sort out issues relating to recent cease orders that were issued to owners of a stone quarry in the Mazaruni River and a Bartica sand pit.

Meeting with the officials at the Ministry’s boardroom, Broomes explained that government is doing a comprehensive review of all its natural resources.  She said that the visit on Saturday May 19 to the quarries and follow up checks with owners was the first of a series of such activities.

Minister Broomes pointed out that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) is mapping out its resources and seeking funding to better manage the bodies.

The minister explained that the coalition government inherited a somewhat broken system. She said the meeting was the first a series of inspection and meetings to foster better relations between the miners and GGMC.

“Compliance in any business is not here or there, it is a most and so the level of compliance must be up to date, safety, royalty and every aspect of mining” Minister Broomes reiterated.

On Saturday May 19, Minister Broomes and a GGMC team conducted impromptu inspections at quarry operations in Region Seven including BK International Quarry, Baracara Quarries Incorporated, Durban Quarries, Toolsie Persaud Limited’s St. Mary Quarry in the Essequibo River and a sand pit in Five Miles, Potaro Road.

Durban Quarry and the sandpit were asked to cease operations until compliance and safety issues were corrected. Durban Quarry representatives noted that one of the big challenges they faced recently was the transportation of equipment to the mining area, and a blast that went wrong.

Vishnu Persaud representative of Durban Quarry highlighted that “the one barge we have is used to do all our to-and-fro business from the quarry. So, we were trying to salvage it. We have now sourced a new one”. He also explained that they also conducted a blast recently with some expired explosives.

Both Durban Quarry and Toolsie Persaud Limited St Mary Quarry are said to owe the GGMC outstanding royalties.

Durban Quarry’s representative agreed to have this rectified. However, Rajesh Persaud, representative of Toolsie Persaud Limited St. Mary Quarry raised concerns about the manner in which dues are paid. Persaud said for years he has been paying royalties based on the amount of stone sold. GGMC has stated that approximately $4.4Million is owed by the company, Persaud objected to this and said he will visit the office to clear up the issue.

Minister Broomes clarified that the law stipulates that royalties are to be paid on extraction as opposed to what is sold.

St. Mary’s Quarry and BK International Quarry were warned to implement environmentally safe practices when disposing of their waste.

Meanwhile a team from the Bartica NDC and the GGMC will be visiting the sandpit with an engineer today to see whether operations can resume.

By: Zanneel Williams

Images: Kawise Wishart.