2017 gold declarations below target

The Guyana Gold Board has recorded total gold declarations of 652,000 ounces for 2017, which is below the target of 720,000 ounces.

Both the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Gold Board had anticipated that last year’s gold declarations would have surpassed 2016’s record 713,000 ounces.

It is expected that Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman will soon release a breakdown of production.

In October of last year, when the MNR gave a third quarter report, it pointed out that  gold declarations as at September 29, 2017 stood at 475,202 ounces and that small- and medium-scale miners were  responsible for the lion’s share.

Then, MNR had stated that small- and medium-scale miners produced 309,787 ounces, while the two large mining operations, Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources, produced 117,002 ounces and 48,412, respectively.

But for 2016 and 2017, small and medium-scale miners had expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s treatment of the sector and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) led the call for more benefits for miners in those categories.

In this year’s budget, government sought to pacify the small-and medium-scale miners by lowering the tributor’s tax. “Following strong representation by the [GGDMA], I propose the following additional incentives to the industry: a) A reduction in the Tributor’s Tax from 20 percent to 10 percent, with effect from January 1, 2018. Tributors will continue to file annual tax returns and pay any taxes due or be refunded as appropriate. Both the [Guyana Revenue Authority] and the [Guyana Geology and Mines Commission [GGMC] will intensify their efforts to bring operators in the industry within the tax net. b) Replacement of the current ―2% of the gross proceeds regime with a sliding scale percentage that is based on the price of gold,” Minister of Finance Winston Jordan had announced during his 2018 budget presentation.

This was welcomed by the GGDMA, which stated that it believed the changes would have “tremendous positive impacts in expanding and sustaining the local mining industry, but also the economic well-being of Guyana as a whole.”

Board deficit to Central

Bank reduced by 71%

Meanwhile, Gold Board Chairman Gabriel Lall told Stabroek News that the board has reduced its deficit at the Bank of Guyana by some 71%, from $18.9 billion at the end of December, 2016, to $5.4 billion at the end of last year.

“Our deficit at the Bank of Guyana as at December 31st 2016 was $18,929,651,000 but this year that figure is $5,482,332,000… that represents a 71% decline,” he said.

Lall also reported that foreign exchange earnings grew from US $817,517,612 in 2016 to US $830,694,000 in 2017.

Lall said too that the total sales as at December 31st last year were pegged at 193,008 ounces, which was up from 184,298 ounces in 2016.

Growth in total exports was also reported for last year and stood at US$241,115,554 as compared to US$ 226,924,831 in 2016.

Additionally, the Board’s purchases as at December 31st 2016 were 214,447 ounces, while for the same period last year it was 148,904 ounces.

And while the end of year figure for operational deficit was not yet tabulated, Lall said that as at October 30th last year the board had recorded a “six hundred million plus surplus” when compared to a deficit of $194 million in 2016.

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