Special Land Use Committee report…Miners waiting to hear from government

Miners have not heard back from the government on the outcome of Cabinet’s consideration of the report of the Special Land Use Committee (SLUC) the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association administrative coordinator, Colin Sparman says.

The report was submitted for Cabinet’s consideration late in 2010. The SLUC was set up to look into mining issues after an outcry and protests by miners fearing that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) would affect their operation and livelihoods. Sparman told Stabroek News yesterday that the authorities are making efforts to implement certain regulations but have not taken on board many of the recommendations of the association. When contacted in the past, government officials have repeatedly said that the report was being considered by Cabinet. Following elections late last year, a new Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has been established.

Soaring gold prices have seen many entering the sector which has increased its contribution to Guyana’s economy in recent times and Sparman said that the level of fear with which miners had regarded certain proposals before, has dropped.  The coordinator said that they have requested quarterly meetings with Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud and he has responded positively. A meeting is scheduled for next month and the issue would be raised.

Meanwhile, among the charges that are being seen is the non-renewal of licences that are close to Amerindian lands, Sparman said. In addition, he said, the authorities have started to release land for mining after freezing this process last year.

Last May mining officials said that the frozen land allocation process resulted in widespread illegal mining, while the response of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) was hampered by the fact that it only has 41% of its required staffing.

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