Expert committee appointed to review operations of Gold Board lab

Following incidents of elevated mercury emissions, Executive Director of Conservation International-Guyana Dr David Singh has been appointed to lead an expert committee in the review of the operations of the Guyana Gold Board’s laboratory.

The committee was appointed yesterday by Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, the Ministry of Natural Resources announced yesterday.

In a statement, the ministry said the appointment of the committee follows the recent incidents of elevated mercury emissions within the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission’s compound and its environs, and the potential risk posed to workers and residents.

It noted that the committee has the specific mandate to “Examine all aspects of the functionality of the Guyana Gold Board’s laboratory, and to make recommendations for its efficient, secure, and environmentally safe operations including, its relocation.”

The Committee has also been mandated to examine suitable and secure sites for the relocation of the laboratory and to make recommendations accordingly, the statement added.

It said that the appointment of the Committee followed on a public commitment made by Trotman to have a team of experts review the operations of the laboratory to ascertain whether it is functioning in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner, and, if not, to have recommendations made for improved operations.

In addition to Dr. Singh, who holds a doctorate in Chemistry, the committee also comprises Keith John, retired  Assistant Commissioner of Police, and one member each, from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Guyana Gold Board.

The statement said the committee’s work will commence on April 18th, 2018, and a report will be submitted within one month.

On Friday, Trotman had announced that an analysis of the mercury emissions at the laboratory showed that levels were within “normal” limits but nonetheless disclosed his proposal to have an expert review of the operations.

The analysis by contractor Kaizen Environmental Services (Guyana) Limited said that air quality monitoring on March 28th at 10 locations in the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Compound, Upper Brickdam showed that levels were within the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration, eight-hour Permissible Exposure Limit.

Concerns by staff of the agency about the impact of mercury on their health had led to the commissioning of the analysis.

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