Mining School moving ahead with plans for mercury replacement regime

The recently established Guyana Geology and Mines Commission Mining School is seeking to raise levels of environmental sensitization across the local mining community by including environmental training as one of the core areas on its curriculum, the School’s Coordinator John Applewhite-Hercules has told Stabroek Business.

The local mining sector official revealed in an interview with this newspaper that the Mining School is part of a current initiative supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and local mining sector stakeholders under which consultants are being recruited to undertake an assessment of the environmental conditions in the local mining sector as it pertains to the use and prevalence of mercury in mining communities. Applewhite – Hercules told Stabroek Business that the initiative seeks to arrive at a determination regarding  the most suitable non-mercury recovery devices for specific mining area in Guyana.  “We will also be assessing how these materials will be effective and efficient with respect to mining and studying the costs/benefits of utilizing the materials,” the GGMC official said.

Beyond prospecting: The New Mining School will teach enhanced methods of finding and mining gold.
Beyond prospecting: The New Mining School will teach enhanced methods of finding and mining gold.

The need for the local gold mining sector to address the question of the use of mercury in the gold mining process has come into sharp focus over the past few years in the light of commitments to more stringent environmental management made by the Government of Guyana as well as the advent of key international conventions pertaining to the use of mercury in the mining sector.

In October 2013, the Government of Guyana signed on to the Minamata Convention, a globally binding treaty that seeks to prevent emissions and releases of mercury into the environment and places restrictions on a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted. The Treaty also addresses the mining, export and import of mercury and safe storage and disposal of waste mercury.

Hercules-Applewhite has told Stabroek Business, meanwhile, the terms of reference for the engagements with the consultants have already been completed and that July 23rd was the deadline for the consultants to submit their bids for the project. He said that he had been engaging the IDB and the GGMC’s  Mineral Processing Unit through an existing official working group on mercury.

“We are collaborating and working together in such a way as to ensure that all the initiatives are taken in a manner that allows us to get where we want to go, which is in the direction of having something to roll out to the mining industry that miners can follow.”

The mining official said that the consultants will be working alongside functionaries of the local Mineral Processing Unit “to develop a programme that will inform miners      as to how the sector is looking to go forward with the application of alternatives to mercury.”

And according to Hercules-Applewhite the Mining School is also engaged in “other collaborative initiatives with IAST, the University of Guyana and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association aimed at addressing issues pertaining to the use of mercury in the mining sector. He said that one of the key roles of the mining school will be to utilize information garnered from its engagements with “the specialists” to “deliver curriculum, manuals that the Mining School can then utilize to convey information to miners through workshops and seminars.”


Latest in Business

Guyana Metal Recyclers Association President Michael Benjamin

Metal exporters want urgent presidential intervention

– business ministry working on new procedures Piqued over what it says has been the suspension—without either notice or official notification—of the scrap metal trade by the APNU+AFC administration since June last year, the Guyana Metal Recyclers Association (GMRA) the official umbrella body for local exporters has told the Stabroek Business that the protracted inability of businesses to ply their trade is wreaking havoc with the industry and denying legitimate businessmen the right to earn a living.

The Far Rockaway Hotel

Kwakwani $$$M hotel investment seeks to breathe new life into community

Gavin August may well be unique in the extent of his financial investment in Kwakwani: an estimated $50 million to create a 12-room hotel, which he hopes will pay him back down the road, when the fortunes of the community change.

default placeholder

Does crowdfunding have the power to grow Caribbean economies? (Part 2)

By A Cecile Watson   A Cecile Watson is the founder of She is a former senior regional banker, an international speaker, a certified financial education instructor and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Ambassador Regional Leader for the Caribbean.

20160624gold prices June24

Kitco Market

Gold Prices for the three day period ending Thursday  June 23, 2016Kitco is a Canadian company that buys and sells precious metals such as gold, copper and silver.

IDB Chief Economist Jose Juan Ruiz

Caribbean facing savings crisis – IDB

A new study released earlier this month by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has put countries in Latin America and the Caribbean on notice that they are confronted with a savings crisis that might do damage to their economies in the years ahead.


Prices Prepared by the Guyana Marketing Corporation

(Prepared by the Guyana Marketing Corporation and published by Stabroek Business as a public service)*Prices only represent the average Wholesale Farmgate and Retail Prices at the above mentioned markets and are NOT prices set by the Guyana Marketing Corporation or Ministry of Agriculture.

Aunty Picky

Placing a premium on education: Annandale businesses support growth of secondary school

As the story goes, the name Annandale is said to honour the two daughters of the proprietor of the tract of land to which the name was given.

Talks underway: The respective delegations from the Guyana Public Service Union and the Government of Guyana face each other on Wednesday at the start of what could be the country’s most important industrial relations encounter since the Armstrong Arbitration Commission.

GPSU, gov’t pay hike talks opening ‘a transformational moment’ – Yarde

The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) is treating the current public service wages and salaries negotiations with the Government of Guyana as “the start of a process aimed at bettering the lot of public servants in a manner that goes way beyond the monetary benefits which we expect will derive from the process,” its President Patrick Yarde has said.


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: