Gold declarations are currently 33 percent higher than last year, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud disclosed during an appreciation ceremony last week for key players in the mining sector.
Persaud said that the sector is crucial to Guyana’s national growth and development, and the possibilities in terms of rapidly transforming lives at the macro, individual and community levels are certainly tremendous, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.
This impression, he stressed, must be conveyed together in people’s actions, statements and intentions, thereby appreciating the value and importance of the industry.
Persaud asserted that it must be made absolutely clear that the activities of the mining sector do not conflict with that of the existence, development, rights and entitlements of the indigenous people.
“Again we want to emphasise that there are issues that we have to work on, there are concerns that mining and Amerindian communities will have but that should not give rise to an atmosphere of tension of dialogue where it is not constructive,” he said.
He pointed out that President Donald Ramotar on the issue of land titling, land extensions and demarcations had given clear directions that there must be guidance, collaboration and due process at the end of the day, where everyone involved feels that there is justice and fair play.
The minister stated that his ministry is committed to working in partnership with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), the Guyana Women Miners Organisation and other stakeholders in the sector to strengthen weak areas.
In the meantime, Persaud acknowledged that while more can be done in terms of regulations, the mining sector is not operating in a free-for-all manner.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment together with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) honoured key players in the mining sector in various categories, including good mining practices, production rates, use of alternative technology, and using good management techniques.
The awards ceremony was held at Herdmanston House, Queenstown, as part of activities to mark Mining Week 2012, GINA said.
Among the top gold and diamond producers and those honoured for following good practices were Alfro Alphonso, Chunnilall Babulall, Ramnarine, Johnny H. Dos Santos, Peter Robinson, Wendelle Wade, Dawn Williams, Cheryl Williams and Ryan and Huliho Pereira, the release stated.
And royalties collected in mining communities were presented to Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai and that will be put into a special fund set up by the National Toshaos Council (NTC) to aid development in Amerindian communities.
Former GGMC commissioner and now Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, former commissioners Brian Sucre, and William Woolford and former Chairman Major General (ret’d) Joe Singh were also honoured for their leadership and contributions to the mining sector.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who had oversight for the mining sector for a number of years until Persaud became Minister of Natural Resources, was acknowledged for his leadership and support.
In his remarks, Hinds expressed appreciation to the GGMC and the mining sector and noted that the development of the road to Mahdia and the Linden to Lethem road aided significantly the development of the mining sector, since miners now have better opportunities to access their mining grounds in a timely manner.
Hinds said that success requires great change, since the many small and medium scale mining operations create the situation where what was acceptable before is no longer so.
The prime minister stated that there is need to raise the level of operations since there are great challenges for small miners, but he urged that they keep steady on the track to better their operations.