The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment commissioned a new facility in Lethem, yesterday, GINA said.
The fully equipped facility that costs close to $70M is one of seven that will be inaugurated in several mining districts over the next two months, with the aim of ensuring that Guyanese benefit from their country’s resources in a more sustainable manner, GINA said.
“That there is always a concern about the state’s ability to regulate the mining sector, particularly in gold mining, and also with the advent of oil exploration as potential resides even in this area…it has always been questioned whether we are investing enough in developing the type of capabilities and capacities to monitor, regulate and enforce and to ensure that we support the sector in its sustainable and viable growth,” said Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud who declared the facility open.
For a number of years the mining sector has been thought to be under-regulated, and Persaud noted that the ministry has sought to remedy this.
“One of the first mandates I have given the board (GGMC) and the commission is that we must have a fixed, permanent presence, not only in traditional mining areas, but areas that we see new activities,” the Minister said, according to GINA.
GINA said there are 15 new stations spread across the mining regions, including mobile stations.
“By us having this kind of presence we will be able to work with the community in providing the opportunities and ensuring that we have a level of responsibility…we also recognise too that we have the threat, we sit right on the border and there has always been the complaint and the reality too whereby we have seen some illegal movements of some of the folks from our neighbouring state and we have always wanted to ensure that the agencies are present in this particular area, whether it’s immigration, GRA and now the GGMC, so that we can facilitate legal interface and legal involvement because we have benefitted from miners and other investors from other state,” Persaud was quoted by GINA as saying.
In terms of the movements of minerals in the area, it was noticed that some persons have been violating the laws in this regard. Persaud stressed that with the advent of the facility and the soon to be Gold Board, anyone who engages in such activities will be dealt with.
With regards to moving the sector forward, he announced that soon there will be the presence of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Protected Areas Commission in the area.
Region Nine’s Vice Chairman, Douglas Casimero expressed gratitude to the Government for implementing such a facility in the region which will ensure more legality with regards to mining. “This is another phase of development in the region. This facility will allow for more collaboration with the people and will bring to a halt the illegal activities that have been going on in the area,” Casimero said, according to GINA.