Parish Peak area to remain off-limits to mining for now; Environmental and forest certification considerations must be assessed before a decision is taken

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Ministry of Natural Resources has observed that the Berbice Mining Syndicate has been speaking in the media about lack of access to the Parish Peak area.

At a meeting between the Ministry and various mining syndicates held on Wednesday March 29, 2017 this matter was raised with the Minister of Natural Resources Honourable Raphael G.C. Trotman M.P. The Minister at that meeting informed the head of the Berbice Mining Syndicate that there are environmental and forest certification considerations that have to be assessed before any decision can be made about accessing the area for mining purposes. The Minister informed that in the interim the area will remain off-limits.

The syndicates were all reminded that not all lands applied for or in which interest is shown can or will be allocated and that the President has appointed a Lands Commission to review and make recommendations on the use of interior lands. This syndicate like all others will be accommodated to the best of Government’s ability and must abide by the guidelines and rules agreed at the meeting held.

The area in question is a Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Reserved Area, one of which had been held by Goldstone Resources Ltd. in 1999.

A Biodiversity Assessment Team (BAT) Survey in 2014 had determined that the area is important for biodiversity as the Upper Berbice River region comprises pristine lowland forests containing diverse and abundant wildlife.

The Report has recommended stringent monitoring by the relevant regulatory agencies including the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), EPA, and Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) along with local residents and relevant communities to ensure compliance with Guyana’s regulations and laws and to prevent overharvesting and the removal of protected/prohibited species.

It has also been recommended that local stakeholders must be incorporated in decision-making, management, and monitoring of the area since they have the best local knowledge and that the use of the main access road must be monitored. Measures must also be taken to prohibit unauthorized activities and regulate wildlife harvesting according to the 2013 Guyana Wildlife Management and Conservation regulations.

In light of the above, the Ministry of Natural Resources must reiterate that engagements with the various stakeholders, including the Land Commission engagements, must continue before further decisions can be taken.