Government engaging geological consultant to help locate gold deposits

The Ministry of Natural Resources is seeking to enhance its technical capacity to maximise returns from the country’s gold-mining industry whilst improving the sector’s environmental footprint by engaging the services of internationally-known geologist Professor Richard Goldfarb who is currently on a brief visit to Guyana.

The initiative to secure the services of Professor Goldfarb arose out of a meeting between him and a Guyana delegation led by Minister in the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes to a Mining Congress in Bolivia. Today, Professor Goldfarb will continue his interface with officials of the country’s mining sector and particularly with geologists employed with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

A release from the Ministry of Natural Resources earlier this week said that the ministry was supporting the visit here by the renowned geologist, “with a view of building Guyana’s capacity in mineral exploration.” The release said that “Dr Goldfarb is widely accepted by the geological community as a leader in the study of orogenic gold in green-schist metamorphic terranes, similar to the gold bearing ore belts located in Guyana.” It added that apart from his work with the US Geological Survey for 35 years he is currently employed by universities in Colorado and China in a consultancy capacity in the area of gold mining and gold productivity.

Minister Broomes and GGMC team in Bolivia with Professor Goldfarb last November.

The ministry said it was aiming to have Professor Goldfarb’s visit to Guyana “assist local geologists with a better understanding of the classification of gold deposits in Guyana and consider ways in which the use of available mineral exploration data could be improved.”

It was also aiming at ensuring that the local gold-mining industry is better able to understand and predict areas of gold mineralisation and ways in which gold prospecting could be improved.

This pursuit, a ministry official told Stabroek Business, should be seen in the context of efforts to continually maximise returns from the gold-mining sector which occupies a strategic place in the country’s economy. Recently, an official said the sector was aiming at returns in excess of 700,000 ounces this year, though the returns to the Guyana economy will depend on world market prices.

In February this year the Government Information Agency (GINA) had disclosed that the Ministry of Natural Resources would have been engaging the expert in order “to build the capacity of the GGMC …in the area of mineral exploration and mapping.”

Government, according to the release, had earmarked $2 billion for the mapping of Guyana’s minerals. It said that the GGMC had already begun the exercise and in December it had completed a $40 million, three-month project mapping minerals in the Itaballi, Region Seven.

In its release on Professor Goldfarb’s visit, the ministry said that over the years “the lack of uptake of mineral exploration and the low recovery rates” have impacted negatively on forest losses. The release said, as well, that interface with Professor Goldfarb “will also assist Guyana’s technical officers in the adoption of improved practices which will be geared towards being affordable for small and medium scale miners.”

Stabroek Business understands that Professor Goldfarb’s technical presentations have also been open to the wider scientific community and other interested persons.

Efforts to maximise the returns from gold to the Guyana economy will, however, not only depend on enhanced prospecting methods but also on the country’s ability to detect and staunch the illegal flow of gold out of the country. Up until now the authorities have conceded that government’s capacity to stop or even reduce the illegal export of gold is limited.

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