Sand pit operators are slated to begin using a ticket system from September 1st to track their operations as a measure being implemented by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to ensure royalties are paid.
In addition to the ticket system, a monthly audit check will be performed to ensure that tickets issued correspond with the quantities of sand extracted according to GGMC surveys. Road inspections by the GGMC and the Guyana Police Force will also be undertaken to combat any attempts to subvert the system by checking for documentation (tickets) for loads of sand being transported by truckers.
The GGMC will also be performing monthly environmental inspections to ensure that the Mining Regulations of the 2005 Act, as amended, are being complied with. This will be a pilot project starting along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway that will last for approximately six months, after which a decision will be made on expansion.
The decision to more stringently regulate the sand mining sector comes after consultations with stakeholders over the year. The objective of the discussions is to ensure the effective management and monitoring of the highway sand pits, according to GGMC Mines Division Manager, Derek Babb.
The larger issues being addressed are royalties owed and the environmental impact of the operations. Tasked with the resolution of the issues was a board committee, formed in April, with a directive from the GGMC Chairman Clinton Williams to devise a short term plan to arrest the situation of unpaid royalties and further mandate of regulating and general management of the sector. The committee, which consists of five members from GGMC, is chaired by Jacques Foster, who is the chairman.
The system devised by the committee is designed to have pit operators issue tickets, also called conveyance slips, which will be made out in triplicate form, with one copy being issued to the truckers purchasing sand, one kept by the sand pit operator and one retained in the book for the GGMC. The books containing the slips will be printed by the GGMC and issued to the registered sand pit operators to be used effective September 1st. The system is an adaptation of the one used by gold miners. Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud had earlier this year announced that sand mining, particularly along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway area, will be properly managed and monitored. Persaud had noted that there has been a proliferation of sand mining activities in the area but this has not been captured by the Ministry’s data. “There needs to be proper management of sand mining in Guyana, particularly along the Linden-Soesdyke belt. I want to state the fault starts from our end… we would have to enhance ability and capabilities of monitoring what is taking place,” he said. “It is important that we do proper monitoring and proper tracking of what is taking place. We want to correct, this year, our ability to monitor what is taking place.” Persaud added.
Meanwhile, to further sensitise sand miners on varying issues affecting the sector, the GGMC will be hosting a seminar before the end of the year.