Road map, gov’t regulations needed to save lives – Minister Trotman at Mining conference
Georgetown, GINA, July 13, 2016
The mining industry in Guyana has seen the loss of many lives. This has prompted the need for a road map and government regulations to lead the way as a key regulator of the mining industry to address this situation, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said.
The Minister, addressing the Mining Safety Seminar today, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, under the theme, “Putting Safety First in Mining; charting a course to cultivate compliance and strengthen enforcement”, noted that a collective role must be implemented and accepted.
This, he said must include, “a refined government policy, enhanced regulation monitoring and enforcing by the GGMC and improved educational ethics supported by technical institutes, the University of Guyana and the companies that profit from the sale of excavators, ATVs and mining equipment.”
Former Chairmen of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Major General Rtd, Joseph Singh, and Dr. Grantley Walrond, miners and staff of the GGMC were in attendance.
The seminar focused on the individuals who lost their lives or limbs from a mining accident, leaving behind their broken families. It also highlighted innovative and time- tested methods and modern mechanisms to improve health and safety practices within the mining industry.
Several small and medium-scale miners are faced with several challenges including knowing where to position their dredge to make a profit; and how to effectively come into compliance with the regulations and laws, that the mining sector demands. “The Ministry of Natural Resources, together with the GGMC and the Mining School aims to assist them to achieve their aims,” the Minister said.
Education of miners is critical to achieving this goal because the loss of lives has left an imprint on the lives of Guyanese and “we can no longer continue with business as usual without revisiting our systems for operations, monitoring and modernising our mining sector,” Minister Trotman said.
The Minister also revealed that for the past two years, the records show a loss of 31 miners due to the collapse of mining pits. “Whilst we cannot restore their lives we can certainly honour their memories by making mining safer for those active contributors to our country’s development.”
The number one cause of those accidents is found to be negligence. However, in these circumstances it is necessary for these issues to be addressed by regulations through governmental actions to lead the way as a key regulator of the mining industry, the Minister explained.
Additionally the Minister added that this year the GGMC developed a model for general managers of dredge operations and persons entering the mining industry, with the intention of providing mandatory training in the various processes of mining from financial management to mining pit design construction and maintenance, and basic first aid techniques.