Concerns expressed by members of recently created gold mining syndicates arising out of what they say are delays in the processing of applications for the allocation of state lands for mining were expected to get the attention of Cabinet this week.
Letters have appeared in sections of the media criticizing what the syndicate members say have been holdups in the processing of land allocations by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). Earlier this week, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, in a pronouncement designed to allay the miners’ concerns, told this newspaper that his ministry was fully supportive of the initiative. “We remain very committed to the syndicates,” Trotman told this newspaper.
Mining syndicates have been promoted by the Ministry of Natural Resources as a facet of the Government of Guyana’s “good life” promise to the nation and Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes, who has been interfacing with the syndicates, has repeatedly told this newspaper that they are designed to open up the sector to greater numbers of miners and by extension create opportunities for more families and greater numbers of people.
On Tuesday, Trotman disclosed that the ministry was preparing to take the syndicates’ initiative to the next level. ”I’m hoping that Cabinet will consider and approve a presentation that myself and Minister Broomes will make on Thursday [yesterday],” Trotman told Stabroek Business. And while the minister did not comment on the details of the proposal, the tone and content of his reference to Cabinet submission suggested that it would be expected to satisfy tough criteria pertaining to environmental standards and safety and health, among other considerations.
Broomes, who has been talking up the role of mining syndicates in recent weeks, confirmed that she and Trotman had been preparing to put before Cabinet a proposal which they hoped would give the “final green light” to mining
syndicates. She said she was aware of some of the public pronouncements that had been made by the miners adding that there had been some unspecified “procedural issues” at the level of the GGMC. Broomes said that satisfying Cabinet and the various other authorities on issues of safety and the environment was “an important condition” for pushing ahead with the syndicates, adding that she was satisfied that “the work has been done” to enable the initiative to withstand scrutiny and satisfy the expectations of the authorities.
Meanwhile, Broomes disclosed that the ministry had already prepared a draft booklet spelling out the conditionalities associated with the creation of syndicates and the rules and regulations under which they are expected to operate. She said that given the “sensitivities” associated with mining and the challenges which the authorities have had to face arising out of environmental and safety transgressions in the sector, the creation of a clear set of rules and procedures for the creation of mining syndicates was important. “Syndicates are important but there is no intention that these operate outside the framework of the wider regulations governing the mining sector,” she added.