Rare earth elements exploration encouraged – former GGMC commissioner

A former Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission said that while there is no specific policy on the mining of rare earth elements (REE), the GGMC has encouraged persons to look to that area since its demand was growing with the increasing manufacture of electronic consumer items.

Speaking to Stabroek News, William Woolford said that when he commenced his second stint acting as Commissioner of the GGMC in 2006 following the August elections, he encouraged small miners to enter the realm of rare earths.

Interest surrounding rare earth elements increased following the publication of a series of articles focused on Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud and his granting of a Permis-sion for Geological and Geo-physical Survey (PGGS) to Muri Brasil Ventures Inc. (The company has since decided that it will no longer pursue the survey. See story on Page 3)

In his budget speech for 2012, Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh said that rare earth elements present a new opportunity for investment, and with industrial countries actively pursuing alternative sources, Guyana offers new terrain. “To this end, government has invited expressions of interest for two locations, one in southern Guyana and the other in Middle Mazaruni. This is likely to give rise to the development of explor-atory activity in the first instance and subsequently, conditions permitting, ex-traction,” the Minister said in 2012.

Woolford said that there had been some 10 to 12 prospecting licences issued for the exploration of rare earths and even one PGGS signed for exploration in the middle of the country in the Potaro area.

“There was no specific policy for rare earths but it was one of the things that the GGMC encouraged,” said former Commissioner Woolford. “The GGMC encouraged people to look for rare earths since they occur [sometimes] with the mining of gold and diamonds,” he said.

He said that in the late 1970s work was done looking at minerals and he said that columbite-tantalite (coltan) was being mined since the 1950s. While coltan itself is not an REE it is said to be sometimes occurring in places where REEs are found.

He said that in addition to companies, small miners were also exploring for coltan. He said that the small miners brought material to town and it was identified as coltan

It was reported in the local press that at least three companies were in 2012 exploring in Guyana for rare earths. These companies were Prometheus Resources, Pharsalus, and RPM Exploration these had been granted Prospec-ting Licences, according to Minister Persaud.

Pharsalus Inc was at that time reported to be exploring for radioactive minerals and REEs in the North West District of Guyana.

Rare earth elements are said to be so named because they are not found in heavily-concentrated deposits. They are used to build a wide range of computerised products, from cell phones to guided weaponry to green technologies such as windmills and hybrid cars. According to Reuters, China is the world’s dominant rare earths producer and demand is rising for this product.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Cases being built against drug kingpins

Outgoing Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy here, Bryan Hunt has urged patience as it relates to indictments of local drug barons saying that cases are being built in the background that can guarantee convictions.

St Paul’s Anglican Church in Aurora

Aurora Village (Part 2)

Things in Aurora Village are much livelier than in Aurora Estate. Women walk in and out of the health centre with babies hanging from their hips; policemen stand outside the police station bracing against a wooden rail as they talk amongst themselves and shouts of chatter from children playing fill the air.

A Cessna 206 – the model of the planes flown out of Eugene F Correia International Airport, at Ogle yesterday

Probe launched into illegal Cessna flights from Ogle

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) yesterday launched an investigation into the illegal flights of two aircraft from the Eugene F Correia International Airport, at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

default placeholder

Broke City Hall seeks gov’t bailout

Debt-ridden City Hall has approached the government for a bailout after undertaking several Golden Jubilee projects it did not budget for.

Trevon Thomas

Youth of Guyanese parentage dies in BVI boat accident

A young man of Guyanese parentage died tragically in Tortola, British Virgin Islands around 10:00 hrs yesterday when the speedboat he was in hit rough waters and capsized.

Two of the better appointed stands at D’Urban Park (Stabroek News file photo/Keno George)

D’Urban Park bleachers to remain

The bleachers at D’Urban Park will not be dismantled as originally intended as government intends to preserve and improve the area and turn it into a facility for public events, President David Granger has said.

default placeholder

Funerals held for Kamarang sisters crushed by tree

Post-mortem examinations were performed yesterday on the two children who were crushed to death on Thursday in Kamarang, Region Seven and they were buried with the village council assisting with funeral expenses.

default placeholder

Plug leakages to prevent state resources from bleeding out

Revenues from ExxonMobil’s oil find here could be at least four times Guyana’s national budget at current market prices, and a top US Embassy official here has urged government to move swiftly to implement measures to ensure transparency and accountability.

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: