I would like to highlight some points for the attention of the public and the relevant authorities, in relation to my river dredge working on a privately owned river claim that is located around the Isseneru area.
A river dredge is equipped with a suction gravel pump that creates a vacuum that brings up the gravel from the riverbed, and that gravel along with water passes through a sluice box where the gold stays on a specialized carpet and the gravel returns to the river where it belongs, and stays there.
The place I’m working has been worked before by other river dredges; it’s not a virgin area.
The dredge does not pollute the river because that gravel has been washed and rewashed billions of times, and does not disturb the fish, we normally catch fish by casting our hooks from the dredge itself, even when it is working. We use the same water for cooking, washing and bathing, etc.
Waste oil is given to the residents who ask for it, to be used on motor chainsaws and other appliances.
We have an adequate toilet facility and garbage is disposed of by burning, all of this on the land, just the same as anyone else living in that general area.
We only work from 5:00 hrs in the morning up to 21:00 hrs at night, as was agreed upon by councillors of the village; we then turn off all engines and use kerosene lamps. From where the hospital and school are located, it is very difficult to hear any noise coming from the dredge in the day, and impossible to hear anything at night due to the noise of generator sets that villagers use for their electricity supply.
I am a professional miner and I carry out my mining operation in a responsible and respectable manner, always environmentally and socially friendly, and in strict conformity with all mining rules and regulations.
Contrary to what was published in the newspapers, stating that I was ordered to stop working, I have never been issued with any injunction or cease work order. I had stopped my dredge from working for almost one week, because of a “request” and not an “order” from the Minister of Natural Resources, in hope of resolving this issue in an amicable way between the village, the GGMC, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs and myself.
I only recommenced my work after the team of relevant official personnel had visited the area.
The hospital, the school, church, ballfield and everything else are situated about three-quarters of a mile upstream from where I am working.
Earlier this year I had worked much closer to houses (day and night) and never had anyone complained about anything.
Only yesterday four mines officers (one of them an environmental officer) came here to do inspections and they have not found us in breach of anything.
References in relation to my moral conduct could be obtained without the slightest hesitation. I have an impeccable track record not only in Guyana but also in Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname and the Republic of Guinea in West Africa.
I would be willing to shoulder the expense for any relevant authority to come to my dredge and spend some time to confirm the accuracy of this information.
I may not agree with everything that someone may say, but I will always defend their right to say whatever they’ve a mind to.
I am a born Guyanese and I have contributed a lot to this great country and I have the right to work where I am presently working, in the same way as any other good and loyal Guyanese. I have a lot of expenses and I owe a lot of money to diesel suppliers and other people. The river was very dry and I had a real hard time, and I am not doing anything wrong.
I heard through the grapevine that another dredge owner is waiting to put his dredge to work in the same area where I am presently working.
San Jorge Investments