The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) yesterday said that it will be meeting members of the mining community on Thursday September 7, 2017.
A release from MNR says the engagement is intended to address concerns recently raised by miners about the state of the industry and the means through which these will be satisfactorily addressed.
The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA), the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO) and the National Mining Syndicate, have been invited to the stakeholder engagement.
The meeting comes following a boycott of this year’s mining week by the GGDMA and the Syndicate. The two who had been previously at odds, joined forces to snub the event put on by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission each year.Last year and earlier this year, the GGDMA had issued strong condemnations of what it said was the government’s failure to act on important areas.
In a joint press release announcing their boycott of mining week, the GGDMA and the Syndicate said “The Government of Guyana continues to fail the Mining Industry daily in providing an enabling environment for the small and medium scale miners to operate. Yet it is the very revenues from the mining sector that is being used to finance most of Guyana’s economy and to generate the much-needed foreign revenue”. It added that from their perspective, the government has only been taking from the sector and has not been giving anything in return.
“When last has the government done something, or anything for the Gold and Diamond Mining Sector?” the press release questioned, adding that the “spirit” of thousands of miners and their workers around the country is low and they are demotivated and are considering closing their operations, “while others are not reinvesting and are simply going through the motions to pay their bills.”
They asserted that the mining industry had suffered more taxation, fees, “false promises and the deliberate and continued withholding of cost saving policies traditionally enjoyed by miners.”
“The Association and the National Mining Syndicates chose not to be a part of a week of activities that is more for the purpose of Public Relations than for the benefit of individuals involved or interested in getting involved in the sector,” the release added, while emphasising that even though they had petitioned the government for more than a year to address numerous issues, none has been fixed and the list continues to grow.
Highlighting the lack of a National Mining Policy as one of the growing issues, the GGDMA said that even though they have used various forms of media to call on the government to make its policy clear on mining, this has not happened.
“What will it take (for) this government to act in the interest of small and medium scale gold mining?”, they asked.