Mercury emissions problem at Brickdam under control

–GGMC and Gold Board

There was a problem with mercury emissions at the Brickdam complex of the mines commission but the GGMC and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) says it is “under control” even though they acknowledge that the usual treatments are presently unavailable.

A joint statement from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the GGB addressed a report in the Kaieteur News of March 17, 2018 titled, `Mercury-related health conditions of GGMC workers at crisis stage -Tests show many in `danger zone’’.

The statement said that both the GGMC and the GGB acknowledge that there was a problem with mercury emissions, even though there is disagreement that matters are at a “crisis stage” and that many are “in danger zone.”

“Both the GGMC and the GGB believe that this matter is under control because of the many measures taken”, the statement said, adding that the two agencies have collaborated in the past several weeks to improve mercury management activities at the Brickdam Complex so that there are no emissions of mercury during daily operations. It said that this is in addition to measures that were already in place, and part of operational routines which had included regular testing of workers.

It said that the following has also been done:

* Comprehensive inspection of the entire emissions control system;

* Timely refurbishing of all areas and aspects of related systems;

* Physical extension of emissions chimney;

* Satisfactory testing of work and resulting emissions;

* Arranging for written assurances (warranties) as to work performed;

* Continuing with an aggressive maintenance schedule;

* Recruiting external monitoring parties for safety certification purposes; and

* Continuous monitoring to detect any suspicious levels

The statement said that there have also been “frank and timely” communications with GGMC staff.  Specifically, it said that the GGMC has communicated to those few staff members who have an elevated mercury level that all efforts will be made to have them evaluated and treated, in line with guidance provided by the National Insurance Scheme.  While there is indeed a situation where the typical treatments are presently unavailable, the GGMC says it has made other arrangements to address this shortfall.

“The GGMC and the GGB wish to assure everyone that the matter of mercury emissions is of serious concern and engages the highest levels of attention from its senior administrators. The GGMC and the GGB, stand fully committed and involved through continuous monitoring to control the situation to meet all acceptable safety levels”, the statement added.

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