The imminent legitimate allocation on mining lands to groups comprising the newly-formed mining syndicates will represent “an historic landmark” for the sector and “step in the direction of fulfilling the government’s good life promise,” Minister in the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes has told the Stabroek Business.
“If you understand the culture of the gold mining industry, if you understand the divide between the big miners and those miners who, for years, have struggled to make ends meet, only then can you understand the real significance of mining syndicates,” Broomes said.
The comment came shortly after the release earlier this week of a media statement by the Ministry of Natural Resources in which Minister Raphael Trotman said that the creation of mining syndicates represented the pursuit of a mandate handed the ministry by President David Granger “to ensure that all categories of miners, small, medium and industrial scale can participate and benefit equally from the mining sector.”
Last week Trotman, Broomes and senior officials of the ministry and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) met syndicate representatives to discuss operating procedures for the newly formed groups including the adoption of measures that will see them advance in a structured and regulated manner. The meeting was attended by representatives of syndicates from Issano, Kurupung, Fourteen Miles, Albouystown, Imbaimaidai, Mahdia, Parika and West Berbice. Syndicates now boast a collective membership of close to 700 miners.
In the Ministry of Natural Resources release, Trotman said that the success of the syndicates could well depend of the extent to which their members were prepared to live within the environmental laws governing the gold mining sector. According to the release, Trotman used the forum to make clear the President’s wish that mining take place “in a way that respects the environment, which includes those who work in the sector and reside in the communities as well as the flora and fauna.”
Broomes, who had been charged with working with the small miners to ensure the creation of the syndicates told Stabroek Business she believed that environmentally responsible mining was likely to be “a challenge” for the syndicates but their determination to make the best of the opportunity would focus their minds on their environmental responsibilities.
At the March 29 meeting, Broomes had said that the creation of the syndicates had sent an unmistakable signal “that government is serious about developing the sector by providing opportunities for small miners. She said that as the “pioneers” of the syndicate movement the members of the newly formed groups had “an important responsibility.”
During the meeting the representatives of syndicates were updated on the work of the GGMC’s Closed Area Committee (CAC) and were briefed on the procedures associated with land acquisition and with the formal creation of syndicates.
In its release the Ministry of Natural Resources alluded to the enthusiasm of the representatives of the syndicates and of their energetic discourses on their challenges and on a blueprint for moving forward “which includes access to viable lands, security and infrastructural needs, training and a review of the work and role of the GGMC.”
This newspaper understands that as part of the preparatory process for the creation of the syndicates a set of guidelines will be widely circulated. The guidelines will detail steps involved in the creation of syndicates including the requirement that the syndicates acquire formal business registration. Subject to successful prospecting, syndicates will be required to make formal application for lands to the GGMC’s Land Management Division.