The small and medium scale gold & diamond mining industry is destined to be gradually destroyed

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Gold & Diamond Mining Association (GGDMA) wishes to update all miners on all of the latest extremely critical developments.

Government continues its drive to miniaturize the small and medium scale gold and diamond mining industry.

There is a new drive to take away claims, prospecting / mining permits, etc, from Guyanese miners to make the areas available to foreign investors, especially those from a new found friendly country, who has so graciously undertaken to identify our mineral reserves, including uranium.

The GGDMA is saying that there is no need to restrict how many claims, prospecting or mining permits etc, a Guyanese miner could own, as is being presently dictated, since millions of acres of rich mineral lands, are available for allocation, including within GGMC’s many “closed” areas. Today only larger scale miners, have been known to build roads into new areas in the interior, as government agencies are absent in this area of development.

To the government, we say have some shame and stop taking away many billions of dollars ($1.8 billion lately) of Guyana Geology & Mines Commission (GGMC) money, and allow the GGMC to further develop especially the small and medium scale mining industry and to make “excavator pools” available, exclusively to help the smaller miners to mine, in an acceptable manner.

GGDMA calls on the GGMC to employ scores of exploration crews, instead of scores of “policemen” to do widespread exploration, especially in some of their closed accessible areas, and to make those results and areas available to the smaller miners.

Is the once Imperialistic Kingdom of Great Britain in the 1500s to the 1800s, being replaced by a new Imperialistic Kingdom of Norway in the 21st Century??

We call on the Kingdom of Norway to cease assisting in the financial destruction of the small and medium scale miners and the many thousands of poor people especially, the interior residents who occupy villages like Bartica, Mahdia, Port Kaituma, Issano, Kurupung, Imbaimadai, Kamarang and scores of other areas, who rely almost totally on mining for their better economic survival. Miniaturize mining and you will hurt these poor people.

President Jagdeo told hundreds of miners during the meeting on the 11th of February 2009, at the International Convention Centre, (ICC) after a question from a Bartica resident, that no money from the Norway Deal or from the LCDS programme, will be made available to assist in mining, as all the money has to be used in other areas. So no money will go to cushion any disruption caused by any miniaturizing of the mining industry, and the loss of thousands of jobs.

We call on the Kingdom of Norway to exempt from the Norway-Guyana Agreement, a small total of an accumulated 4% of the entire forested area, equal to around 1.5 million acres at a yearly infinitesimal mining rate of 10,000 acres or 0.256 %, of the forested area, for the mining by our small and medium scale miners, in almost the same way that 14% of the forest, was exempted for the Amerindian settlements, from the said Norway-Guyana agreement.

The refusal to exempt such a small accumulated total area of 4% of the entire forested interior of 39 million acres, could only mean that the small and medium scale gold and diamond mining industry is destined to be gradually destroyed.

Little do the thousands of small miners know, that they are considered to be a nuisance, as people in authority would like to see only between 50 and 100 miners in the gold and diamond mining industry.

The enemy of the smaller miners is not the larger miners. The larger miners are fighting for the survival of the smaller miner. The small miners must stay close and battle together with the large miners or perish very soon.

The GGDMA wishes to let our miners and the general public know that the official Special Land Use Committee (SLUC) document, which was sent to His Excellency President Jagdeo, that much of the content in the report, does not reflect the true agreement which was reached, between the GGDMA and the said government officials during the SLUC meetings, while the meaning of the accumulated exempt total area requested by the GGDMA, was heavily and purposely distorted to mean something else.

“Was the distortion of the words in the SLUC Document the cause of President Jagdeo saying to the crowd at the ICC, that “the Miners Association wants 5% to 7% of the interior to mine, while I am giving them 100 % of the Interior?”

The 5%-7% (now reduced to 4%) the GGDMA requested is an accumulative total mined acreage of 4%, within the entire 100% of the 39 million acres, in the whole of Guyana, wherever all minerals, including gold and diamonds are found; not a separate or specific area.

Government officials continue to say “mining will continue”, but in that often mentioned statement they left out with 100 miners or less, instead of the present 10,000 miners.

However, the SLUC Final Document sent to President Jagdeo still includes the highly disturbing “6 months wait”, as quoted below, which does not give the miner the right to move to another part of the 1200 acres, if the two seven-acre areas prove uneconomical to mine, unless he finds and begs the minister to allow him to move and mine in another part of the same 1,200 acres mining permit area.

SLUC final document sent to President Jagdeo:

“For new operators/new operations”

“All persons who intend to commence new mining operations (ie in a new area – meaning a miner moving to another or any new mining permit area),  shall furnish six months’ notice of intended prospecting or mining operations and the location of specified machinery and/or dredge.

“In this notice, an initial starting point, and one alternate starting point must be described providing GPS co-ordinates and depictions for both starting point and alternate starting point.

“Note – The alternate starting point is only required to accommodate unforeseen circumstances such as flooding, which would occasion the miner having to remove from the initial starting point.”

At a GGDMA meeting at the Hotel Tower on 31-03-10, a miner suspecting that no mention was made in the SLUC Report sent to the President, asked the minister present what would happen if the starting mining point of seven acres, and the alternate starting mining point of another seven acres proved barren of economic gold values, even after exploration; could the miner move to another section within the same mining permit of 1,200 acres?

The minister said no, the miner cannot move from the two seven-acre areas, (14 acres) to any other part of the 1,200-acre permit area, and that he would need to go to him, “to seek permission if he wanted to move.”

If permission is not given to all or any of the scores of miners,  who could very often find themselves in this situation of having to move, regardless if exploration is done to try to recover true gold samples in these difficult alluvial fields, then the miner would have to wait until the logger says that he has no more interest in the area, and the logger is allowed to take six months to remove any or all the trees he needs, and give his decision/permission for the miner to mine the remaining area of 1186 acres.

Under these clever circumstances “mining will not continue” contrary to what is being said. This is the disastrous situations our miners are faced with today, as the small and medium scale gold and diamond mining industry, is, without any doubt whatsoever, destined to be gradually destroyed.

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Pereira

& other members of the GGDMA

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