Scaling back likely in gold production figures

- but prices not at ‘tipping point’, Sparman says

Amid concerns about significantly reduced gold production in the face of falling world market prices, Stabroek Business has learnt that the sector will almost certainly have to effect a downward adjustment in its projection for gold production this year.

“Unless we start hitting sixes and hitting quite a few of them there is every chance that the sector will not accomplish what we had hoped it would this year,” Administrative Coordinator of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) Colin Sparman said earlier this week.

And while the mining sector official was unable to say whether and to what extent the decline in gold production was due to hoarding or smuggling, he said there was evidence that some miners were “shrinking” their operations and that might have to do with “other factors” in the mining sector.

At the end of 2013 the gold mining sector declared a production figure of 481,000 ounces and Sparman said that the expectation was that this year’s production would “top 500,000 ounces.” However, Sparman said in a telephone interview with this newspaper earlier this week that to date, “production figures do not appear to support such a declaration.”

Sparman, meanwhile, is sticking with his assessment given to this newspaper some months ago that gold prices would have to “tumble” to a level below US$1,000 to give rise to anything “resembling serious general concern” in the local mining sector. “That remains my view and the price has not reached that US$1,000 mark. The problem is that it’s hard to say which direction prices are heading in,” he added.

Asked about reports of partial cessation of operations by some miners, Sparman said those reports were accurate. He said there were miners who had made “significant new investments” in the sector and were finding it “challenging” to continue to operate at the prevailing price levels. “I am aware of actual cases in which miners have had to pursue scaling back their operations, including working fewer dredges and cutting back on staff as an option,” Sparman said, though he insisted that the situation had not reached what he described the “tipping point.”

Sparman told Stabroek Business that he believed government and miners were “making good progress” in an ongoing collaborative effort to support the continued growth of the industry at what he described as “a challenging time.” He said some concessions like reduced prices for fuel and concessions in terms of fuel were already in place and arrangements for duty-free concessions on vehicles to be used specifically in the sector were “proceeding.”

And according to Sparman, the GGDMA is continuing to lobby government to open up new mining areas to allow more small miners to operate. He said that despite current price levels there were several persons who were still prepared to become involved in the sector. “What we need are more lotteries for the allocation of land for mining. Larger numbers of small miners can add significantly to the overall gold yield,” Sparman said.

Latest in Business

At the Princess Hotel Casino

Draft gaming legislation before year end

Legislation designed to update existing local laws to ensure that they keep pace with the evolution of gaming is currently being drafted and could be completed before the end of this year, Chairman of the new Gaming Authority of Guyana Roysdale Forde has told the Stabroek Business.

20160701business cover

Georgetown Chamber expects gov’t to avail 20% of contracts for SMEs as provisioned in act

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has signalled its intention to throw its weight behind the provision in the 2004 Small Business Act that binds government to ensuring that the small business sector secures a minimum of 20 per cent of procurement contracts issued by the state.

default placeholder

Are you really an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur, Managing Director, GeoTechVision Entrepreneurship seems to be the new buzz word these days and while many are trying to build and contribute to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem, few entrepreneurs have excelled by turning their ideas into high growth businesses.

default placeholder

Contractors seeking meetings with ministers, mayor to discuss workplace safety issues

Stabroek Business has been sent a copy of a memorandum from the 70-member General Contrac-tors Association of Guyana (GCAG) seeking what its Secretary Neil Cort-Rogers says are “important meetings” with two cabinet ministers and the Mayor of Georgetown to find solutions to “critical issues” facing the sector.

Prime Minister Keith Rowley attended by assorted dignitaries doing sod-turning duties at the site of the planned car park.

Port of Spain getting parking meters too

One thing that Georgetown appears to have in common with Port of Spain is a premium on parking space and yesterday the Trinidad Express reported that on the previous day the twin-island Republic’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had turned the sod to commence the construction of a TT$100 million multi-storey car park in the capital.

Mercy Wings is training part of the country’s future work force

Mercy Wings needs public, private sector help to provide Sophia youths with life-changing skills

Sophia is one of those working-class communities where unemployment is high, poverty is ever present and the rate of school dropouts is disturbing.

Kitco is a Canadian company that buys and sells precious metals such as gold, copper and silver. It runs a website for gold news, commentary and market information.

Kitco Market

Gold Prices for the three day period ending Thursday  June 30, 2016

Kwakwani faces an acute crisis of bad roads

Berbice River communities facing economic challenges, community differences

Kwakwani is a struggling, underdeveloped community, a poignant example of the fact that the pace of development has not been anywhere near even across the various regions of Guyana.


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: