Natural Resources Ministry, UG team up to deliver environmental ‘tuition’ for miners

Training and sensitization exercises aimed at providing “critical instructions” on the environmental considerations associated with gold mining will be one of the priorities of the Ministry of Natural Resources even as it seeks to consolidate “a culture of syndicates” as an integral part of the sector, Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes has said.

The ministry issued a statement on a March 11 one-day training workshop titled ‘Support to Uptake of Biodiversity Friendly Practices by Miners’, which Broomes told Stabroek Business should be seen in the context of “the transformation which the administration is seeking to bring to the gold mining culture. What syndicates will do is that they will bring in a number of new people, green people, into the mining sector and they will need to be taught the ground rules about operating in the sector. The environment and safety and health are among those ground rules.” 

In its release the Natural Resources Ministry said that the “training workshop in mining with the environment in mind” was part of the ministry’s “mainstreaming biodiversity in the gold mining sector project,” which it is coordinating with the University of Guyana (UG) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.

Minister in the Ministry of Natural ResourcesSimona Broomes

The training workshop comes in what UG Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith has said will be the positioning of the institution to sharpen the focus of its contribution to initiatives aimed at ensuring that the university does not exist in an ivory tower and that the institution can engage and collaborate with public and private sector institutions in pursuit of the economic development of the country.

The training exercise which is being executed under a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of Guyana and which is being funded by the United Nations Development Programme is being executed in five of the country’s six mining districts. Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr Paulette Bynoe said that part of the objective of the exercise is to “seek to simplify and demystify codes of practice” in relation to the environment for operatives in the mining sector including both miners and officers servicing the sector.

According to Bynoe, “knowledge management” deficits on the part of miners are frequently responsible for environmental challenges in the sector.

Assistant Dean of the faculty Denise Simmonds who executed the Puruni training exercise told this newspaper that it involved the use of various communication tools in order more effectively communicate critical information to the participants.

However, Simmonds said, last week’s initiative was “just the tip of the iceberg” and that “constant upgrading” would be required since the primary preoccupation of the recipients of the training was with mining,

Meanwhile, Broomes said it was the position of the Ministry of Natural Resources that the value of the gold mining sector as a whole was likely to grow in circumstances where the operations of miners took full account of their responsibility to the environment.

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