Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes told a Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources yesterday that the development of mining syndicates will directly influence the growth of the economy.
Broomes gave a presentation on the mining syndicate plan, which she said has enormous benefits. Alluding to the many issues that small miners face in the industry, she said government was aware of the problems and believes that the syndicates will help to alleviate them.
In addition to using the syndicates to get into mining, Broomes explained that small miners can still use the lottery system. “That was there last year and of course those will continue, but just to ensure we provide as much opportunities as possible we have to look at different initiatives and how we can bring the small miners together to pool resources and such things like that,” Broomes said.
She pointed out that currently small miners have parked operations, which was causing them to lose millions of dollars because of vandalism, but the syndicate programme will address that while creating equal opportunities and a level playing field.
Highlighting some of the benefits, Broomes explained that small miners will be better able to manage themselves; syndicates will help curb mining fatalities while improving occupational health and safety. “The syndicates would… work with us at the ministry and Guyana Geology and Mines Commission [GGMC] to address safety, which cannot be addressed by the ministry and GGMC alone,” Broomes stressed.
She also pointed out that the syndicates will create jobs, influence community development and also increase compliance from the miners.
“The syndicates themselves will have to ensure that the dredges are well registered and that the environment is first and foremost. It’s not a nice situation out there and we have to start a cluster to deal with the problem,” she added.
She stated that the syndicates will directly impact the growth of the economy, since 70% of gold declared was produced by small miners.
“There’s one syndicate that has over 24 excavators, three bulldozers… So that kind of investment and resources that person invested in the sector and it was not a safe investment… You invest all that money, buy the equipment, work on somebody’s land and they throw you off… the syndicates will be addressing that,” Broomes stated.
She said they are looking at 20 syndicates around the country that will be managed by a national body.
Asked how the syndicates will prevent larger miners from gaining power and influence, Broomes explained that the ministry will put policies in place to prevent that from happening.