A strategic multi-stakeholder partnership among interest groups in the mining sector is in the process of being created with a view to overseeing the implementation of a number of initiatives designed to foster greater sustainability in the country’s artisanal, small and medium-scale gold mining enclaves.
Stabroek Business has learnt that discourses are in train towards an understanding among the parties that commits them, jointly, to working both individually and collectively to reduce the negative impact of mining on the country’s forest resources and the use of mercury in the sector.
The ‘partners’ in the venture are the Guyana Mining School Inc., Conservation International (CI) Guyana, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association(GGDMA), the National Mining Syndicate (NMS) and the Guyana Women Miners Organization (GWMO).
Stabroek Business understands that the group will be pooling its collective material and intellectual resources in an effort to raise the levels of awareness of the virtues of safe and environmentally responsible mining, implementing practical and workable initiatives designed to foster sustainability through educational workshops, demonstrations, symposia and short courses on prospecting mine management, codes of practice and the use of alternative mineral recovery systems that enhance the gold recovery process without the use of mercury.
Administrator/Coordinator of the Mining School, John Applewhite-Hercules told Stabroek Business earlier this week that the school had succeeded in advancing the concept of competency-based education in the mining sector by collaborating with the local Council for Technical and Vocational Education (CTVET) to develop the occupational standards for mine managers of small and medium-scale mines. Applewhite-Hercules told Stabroek Business that a “Level Three in Mine Management” was currently being developed and will be offered to Mine Managers of small and medium scale mining operations.
Successful participants in the programme will be awarded a National Vocational Qualifica-tion (NVQ) as a precursor to a Caribbean Vocational Qualifica-tion (CQV) for mine managers.
Currently, the Mining School offers various short courses to miners at all of its mining stations and at the Georgetown Headquarters of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) on a continual basis.
The courses currently offered include Introductory and Intermediate Levels Prospectors Courses; Codes of Practice/Safety and Health at Placer Mines and extended Basic First Aid Courses (conducted by the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade).
Administrator/Coordinator of the Mining School John Applewhite-Hercules told Stabroek Business that the need for the institution to strengthen its training capacity had been occasioned both by the growth of the mining sector over the years and by the environmental and safety implications of mining for the country as a whole.
‘We believe that if we can create a competent corps of managers at the various levels in the mining sector, that is to say leaders who are both safety and health conscious and environmentally sensitive, it will enhance the reputation of the mining industry. We need to arrive at a point where informed leadership influences the operational behaviour at operations across the country, where a lack of standards and unsafe and insensitive work habits get put to one side. That is the vision of the Mining School.”