President lauds GGDMA, but calls for members to heed their civic duty
Georgetown, GINA, December 18, 2013
President Donald Ramotar has extended commendation to the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) for establishing a new world record in gold production, but advised that the association pays more heed to its patriotic duty of developing the human capital in the country.
He was at the time speaking at the GGDMA annual Christmas dinner and dance tonight at the Pegasus Hotel which was also attended by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud.
President Donald Ramotar speaking to the gathering at the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association’s (GGDMA’s) dinner and dance.
“Congratulations for a job well-done,” President Ramotar told the gathering, referring to the fact that gold production, today, stood at 461,000 ounces, the highest production ever, surpassing a previous high level of 455, 918 ounces, recorded in 2001; which included the declarations of both Omai and small scale operators.
The President expressed the belief that increased use of new technology is the cause for the augmented production.
“The industry itself has a great future,” the President said, but one that must be done with the realisation of the environmental aspect of the activity.
“The question of preserving our environment, preserving what we have, we also see that it has great benefit for our people, economical but, more over it provides a service for the whole world as far as fighting climate change is concerned. We all know that climate change is upon us, and if we can make a contribution to slow it down and to reverse it, that is very important to us.”
Significantly though, the President noted that mining is a finite operation, and as such stakeholders must ensure that investment going into mining must also be used to develop the human capital.
“I have mentioned on several occasions, several forums, that it the quality of people that will ensure the quality and level of development of our country, and therefore, I would like to see more money going into developing the human capital, that means, I am asking you to also discharge your patriotic duty and ensure taxes are paid so that we provide education and the best quality of education for our people, so that they could go on and continue to build our country long after some of the resources would have been exhausted,” he said.
President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud, President of the GGDMA, Patrick Harding and the president’s daughter at the GGDMA’s dinner and dance.
The 2013 production in face of challenges experienced this year, speaks to the ‘resilience and commitment’ of the small and medium scale miners, Minister Persaud said.
The Minister said that he is worried when some seek to demonise the success in the industry, noting that, “there is absolutely nothing wrong in pointing out the challenges, and there are many challenges, and there are many issues in the mining industry that we will have to confront, because all is not well, but that is not to say that we must discount the success and the progress and misrepresent what is taking place in the industry,” Minister Persaud said.
He noted that about this time last year, he was living with a no-confidence vote in the mining sector, and this time around a newspaper has expressed a no-confidence vote in him for being ‘too pro-mining”
“I am just focusing on what needs to be done and what has to be done to take our country forward,” he said, and this translates into Guyana being an environmental model for sustainable mining. He therefore challenged the miners to aspire for this model.
President Donald Ramotar greeting a GGDMA member.
President of the GGDMA Patrick Harding, although noting that the industry has grown from strength to strength, said it had a mixed year, and while there was a historic production achievement, it took a beating with the price of gold in 2013 plummeting almost 50 percent, against prices achieved last year.
He said still the industry will press forward and disclosed that the GGMDA is set to meet early next work with the President to map out the course in this regard.