Guyana Gold Board happenings

(Editor’s note: Stabroek News has agreed to carry occasional columns from the Guyana Gold Board on matters of public interest. )

In the past several months, the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) has come under intense pressure from several sources; some are public, some are private.  More specifically, the GGB’s Laboratory operations is under sharp scrutiny and continuing objections to its presence and work at the Upper Brickdam location in the GGMC complex; this includes its non-burning operations, meaning its administrative functions and occupancy.  What are the main concerns and interests behind all of this?  What does the GGB’s history reveal?  How is that compatible with, or different from, what is best encapsulated as unrelenting and very focused opposition?

The answers to the issues embedded in those questions will be shared at a later date.  Today’s writing, meanwhile, prioritizes articulating current arrangements already in place and a word or two on future plans for the entire suite of the GGB’s operations.  The GGB’s burning operations have ceased at Brickdam; that is now being executed at another facility which was negotiated in an arm’s length discussion.  This is a short-term, temporary arrangement intended to stabilize the laboratory operations, and to continue to offer a clean honest service to the mining sector.  As was the practice at the former laboratory place of business in Brickdam, the GGB is NOT utilizing any mercury in its processes.  Also, the GGB is neither buying nor processing any amalgam gold; the GGB only buys and processes smelted gold and sponge gold.  The later can be defined as gold in its raw state that has been bonded together into larger pieces through the use of mercury at the mining site; usually those larger pieces have to undergo a burning process prior to declaration at the GGB.

At this time, only the laboratory operations have been relocated; the ideal situation would be for the entire GGB operations and staff to be moved to a permanent location that houses a new modern facility.  Those holding the leadership reins at the GGB envision this as 3-pronged process.  First, obtain a temporary laboratory facility to conduct regular business for the near and intermediate term.  Second, obtain suitable land space for the erecting of a structure representing and projecting the mineral wealth of this nation.  And third, proceeding efficiently and timely with the actual construction of such a building.  A possible best-case scenario would be where all three stages of the relocation are happening concurrently.

To this end, several developments can be shared presently.  A new scrubber (mercury emissions control) system has been contracted for and is nearing completion; it is about to be tested; a state-of-the-art monitoring and testing mechanism is under consideration; a structure for a temporary laboratory (near to intermediate term) operations is being pursued; and several plots of land have been identified and are being discussed at very high levels.  In addition, the GGB’s directorate and management already have had preliminary discussions with an architect and other potential partners.  As said earlier, the vital key to all of this and moving forward is obtaining a piece of land early on which to build.  The timeframes involved can be loosely described as: several months (near to intermediate term temporary location), and within a year (building a permanent site).

In the long term, the directorate and management of the GGB think that this pivotal state entity would be well-positioned to occupy its own clean modern operations centre.  Much thought and work are underway to make available to its customers and the public a place with which all Guyanese can be proud.  At the same time, it would be an edifice that meets all environmental, health and safety, and other control requirements, while possessing a unique ambience of its own.  In all of this, the GGB team is determined to fulfill convincingly and consistently its responsibilities to its stakeholders, the public, the government, and the nation.

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