Successful land reclamation project to set standard for future practice

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, February 10, 2017

The successful completion of a pilot land reclamation project is expected to set the standard for the practice as the government intensifies awareness on reclaiming mined out lands.

The project was undertaken in Olive Creek, Middle Mazaruni, Region Seven and is a collaborative initiative between the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Correia Mining Company (CMC).

Today, GGMC and CMC officials took Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, on a site visit to observe the progress of the reclamation.

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman and Senior Environment Officer of the GGMC Godfrey Scott (behind Minister) looks on as CEO of Correia Mining Company Michael Correia explains how the project was done.

Senior Environment Officer of the GGMC, Godfrey Scott, said the project was undertaken to test how the area responds naturally. More importantly, the project allowed GGMC officers to accumulate important data on land reclamation.

“A huge part of what we did here is to retrieve data. We have a lot of data which answers a lot of questions in terms of timing, in terms of effort, in terms of cost,” Scott explained.

Some 14.7 hectares of mined out lands were aggressively backed filled by the CMC between February 2015 and December 2016. “It took us approximately 19 weeks of work to complete this area backfilling in a total of 145,000 cubic meters and 14.5 hectares of reclaimed lands. We had three major pits that were here, some were approximately 30 to 40 feet in depth,” Earvin D’Anjou, Senior Geologist of Correia Mining Company explained.

Two years after initiating the project, the land has begun to see primary vegetation in the form of grass. “Our focus was to ensure that the site is safe, ensure that it is engineering sound and we’ve achieved that quite clearly,” Scott explained. It is expected that within the next five years trees will begin to vegetate the land.

Chief Executive Officer of Correia Mining Company, Michael Correia, explained that the approximately $54.3M project is aimed at setting

Part of the reclaimed land where primary vegetation is taking hold

minimum standards for the reclamation of mined out lands. “It is a very important project we believe for the future of mining in an environmentally sustainable way,” Correia said.

Meanwhile, Minister Trotman complimented and congratulated the GGMC and CMC for their success on the project.  The Minister noted that as Guyana moves towards a green economy, the sustainable extraction of the country’s resources must become standard practice.

Minister Trotman says the information gained from the project will aid the government in pushing for more aggressive reclamation. “Much emphasis is going to be placed on educating miners and we do wish to move, before the end of the year, to at least one other project,” Minister Trotman said. Miners are required to reclaim and backfill mined out areas.

The project is the second of its kind. A similar pilot project was conducted with success in Mahdia in 2009. Aggressive tree planting was done at that reclamation site. Scott said that now Mahdia is sequestering about 11 tons of carbon. Aquaculture was also introduced as part of the reclamation initiative in the Region Eight mining community.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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