$1B allocation to fund mercury-abatement technology, facilitate lending to miners

A multi-stakeholder committee comprising representatives of various state and non-state entities is to be convened shortly to examine appropriate technology to replace mercury in the gold-mining sector, Stabroek Business has learned.

News of the imminent creation of the technical committee comes just days after the announcement in the 2014 budget presentation that government would sink $1 billion into support initiatives in the gold mining sector including research into appropriate mercury abatement technology and methodologies.

Stabroek Business understands that the working group associated with the investigation into mercury-free mining methods will comprise representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Guyana Geology and Mines Com-mission, the University of Guyana, the Institute of Applied Science and Technology and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Associa-tion (GGDMA).

  Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud
Minister of Natural Resources
Robert Persaud

GGDMA Administra-tive Coordinator Colin Sparman told Stabroek Business earlier this week that the technical team will be studying the available technology “with a view to contemplating appropriateness and perhaps even giving consideration to modifying existing technology to suit Guyana’s particular environmental conditions.”

Late last year Guyana signed a new United Nations mercury convention though local officials have said that it could be at least ten years before the local gold industry becomes completely mercury free.

Discourse on the banning of mercury from the local mining sector has centred around the likely high costs of replacement technology and Sparman said that part of the mercury abatement initiative involved the eventual acquisition of the technology deemed appropriate for the sector and the sale of that technology to the local miners.

Part of the money earmarked for the mining sector in the 2014 budget is intended to be used to provide concessionary funding to local miners. A banking source told Stabroek Business earlier this week that government may have been unable up to this time to find a local commercial bank to administer what is intended to be a revolving fund for miners.

Meanwhile, Sparman told Stabroek Business that miners were “fully on board” with the government in what he described as an initiative “to take the sector forward.”

He said that the price of gold appeared to be holding steady at around US$1,300 an ounce and the sector was “not unhappy” with that price. Sparman also said that while no production target had as yet been set for this year the industry was seeking to exceed last year’s gold yield.

More in Business

GO-Invest Headquarters

GO-Invest not equipped to fulfil its mandate, PSC says

Private Sector Commission (PSC) believes that the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) is ill-equipped to effectively execute its mandate at this time and is unlikely to be able to do so unless it becomes free to attract its own international funding.

Central bank rules limit commercial bank lending

Development Bank still relevant – PSC

While the risk-averse nature of commercial banks’ lending policies have helped to keep the country’s financial system viable and sound in the face of banking crises in other countries, “rigid central bank restrictions” on commercial bank lending have limited expansion, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) says.

David Falconer

Reflecting on three years of the Credit Bureau

By David Falconer Three years into its introduction the local Credit Bureau seems set to reshape the country’s financial landscape, more particularly, to forever alter the procedures associated with lending.

Parliament View Vendor Oneika Douglas

Parliament View vendors see the over reduced conditions

What has come to be known as Parliament View Mall—the description could hardly be more inappropriate—is a hotbed of muted but ill-concealed resentment amongst the more than 100 vendors evicted from the Stabroek Market Square three months ago to their new, decidedly unappealing location.

Raymond Trotz

October festival poised to raise profile of local coconut industry

Guyana’s first ever coconut festival, billed for October, is poised to do more than any previous initiative to raise awareness of the importance of the product, Chairman of the National Stakeholders Forum for Coconut Development Raymond Trotz has said.

default placeholder

Corruption present in counterfeit, expired goods import – Public Health Ministry source

As increasing numbers of cases of importation of counterfeit and/or expired goods, particularly milk, drugs, items of food and medical devices continue to show up on the local radar, a reliable Public Health Ministry source has told Stabroek Business that it is rife with corruption, adding that the authorities no longer appear to have “reliable control” over the integrity of several consignments of consumer goods imported into the country.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: