Mining syndicates to get 180,000 acres of land – Trotman

Fifteen mining syndicates will be given in the first instance, 12,000 acres of land each to give a combined area of 180,000 acres of land.

This was disclosed yesterday by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman as he tried to assuage concerns about the government’s disposition on mining.

Trotman was speaking at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Annual Awards Celebration for  Mining Week 2017 on Sunday at the Tower Suites on Main Street.

He noted that the syndicates initiative was being spearheaded by the Minister in the Natural Resources Ministry, Simona Broomes.

“Through this initiative, hundreds of Guyanese men and women who were either denied access to lands or came under the harsh conditions of a `landlord’ can now band together in a cooperative way and access lands and the synergies and economies that evolve from working together. To put this into context, we are speaking of 281 square miles. Barbados, a place we are all familiar with, is just 170 square miles. So again, with some momentary surprise, I wonder at the agitation of the syndicates for more land when they have not yet begun to mine any lands. I am assured that GGMC is working assiduously to ensure that by the end of the month the lands will be available for distribution and I am awaiting the opportunity to sign the `special order’ to this effect”, Trotman said.

While he said that the coming petroleum production will undoubtedly change the face of the country and the mining industry, Trotman asserted that the gold sector is too important to the country to be displaced and too big to fail. “This government, as I have said on countless occasions in the past, has no desire to see the industry fail. However, we all have agreed in private meetings, and in public outings elsewhere, that there has to be change and adjustments on all sides. The status quo cannot remain. For Government’s part, we are, as of necessity, having to streamline the collection of taxes and curtail what was obviously an abuse of the tax concessions that were given. “Similarly, we are introducing reforms at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) and at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. One such reform is the charging of a processing fee of $2,500 for every ounce of gold processed at the Gold Board only. I was surprised, and momentarily taken aback, to see statements deriding this fee when it was agreed between the Ministry, the GGB and the GGDMA (Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association). I suppose this is the way business is done in some places”, Trotman stated.

He added “This government, as I have said on countless occasions in the past, has no desire to see the industry fail. However, we all have agreed in private meetings, and in public outings elsewhere, that there has to be change and adjustments on all sides. The status quo cannot remain. For Government’s part, we are, as of necessity, having to streamline the collection of taxes and curtail what was obviously an abuse of the tax concessions that were given. Similarly, we are introducing reforms at the Guyana Gold Board and at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. One such reform is the charging of a processing fee of $2,500 for every ounce of gold processed at the Gold Board only. I was surprised, and momentarily taken aback, to see statements deriding this fee when it was agreed between the Ministry, the GGB and the GGDMA. I suppose this is the way business is done in some places”.

Trotman asserted that the GGMC, as the regulator of these sectors, has over the last few years shown that it is able to hold a steady course and at the same time improve its performance through improved declarations. He said that gold declarations have shown a steady increase within the last two years, and following last year’s record breaking declaration, at the end of July this year declaration was 368,000 ozs. Of this figure, small and medium scale gold mining accounted for 244,000.

“As a government we are also concerned about our porous borders which makes it easy for illegal aircrafts and other types of transport to move our minerals out of the country without the requisite royalty been paid to the State. I saw in Friday’s Stabroek news the GGDMA is predicting a Million ozs declaration in the future and I am in total agreement. I believe if we can curtail the illegal transactions then our declarations are going to be much higher than it presently is. Also to be complimented is the increased efforts by the GGMC that are showing improved declarations in sand and stone’, Trotman declared.

On the issue of lands for miners who do not have, Trotman said government is committed to a level playing field, and to this end during 2016, it made lands available to 238 miners who did not have any lands.

 

 

 

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