Small Rupununi miners are at breaking point

Dear Editor,

Due to the ongoing dispute between the small miners of Rupununi, Mining District 6 and Romanex Guyana Exploration Ltd, the small miners have merged to form the Rupununi Mining Association so that we can have one voice.  Mining activities in Marudi Mountain are at a standstill since the displaced miners have been out of work.

Romanex has acquired the rights for the concession for decades now, but has not started any mining since the apparent abandonment. The small miners in the area started working two mountains that contain gold, and that gold is found in the rocks, which means that it has to be processed with crushers.  There are currently 70 crushers working, which employ a minimum of 5 persons each. All have families, and, therefore, thousands of people are directly and indirectly depending on that place to earn their daily bread.

Romanex has promised them that if they move the landing to another location, they will allow the people to work. As such, with great effort, the landing was moved to a new location and up to this date Romanex has not allowed the people to recommence working.

President Granger himself had promised the people that he would see to it that they would work (this is recorded in video), and the Minister of Natural Resources himself made promises to take action in favour of the small miners. Many GGMC officials and others have visited the area and made promises and the people have been waiting and suffering now for over two years. Some persons have already lost their proprieties to the bank because they are unable to pay their loans. Many people have sold whatever little they had in order to invest in mining at Marudi and now the equipment is deteriorating and they are becoming frustrated and desperate. The way I see this situation, we are at a breaking point, and everyone is getting desperate.

It was published in the Kaieteur News last week Saturday that the government has given access to land to the small miners and the Guyana Women Miners’ Organization, but those lands do not have any sort of gold potential, so that seems more like a joke to us. The only place that has gold potential is the two mountains. As such, we are requesting one mountain be given to us and the other to Romanex in order for everyone to earn a living.

Romanex owners are calling the small miners names, and as I have mentioned before, these people have really been stretched out, and they are at breaking point now. The miners have decided that if they cannot get the appropriate approval from the government by the end of the new week, they will go ahead and start back working, with or without approval! They said, “We have families, and we have to eat and … live. It is over two years now and we are holding up we side, but all we getting from the government is nuff sweet talk.”

We are kindly seeking governmental intervention before the situation gets out of control.

Yours faithfully,

Marlon Johnson

President

Rupununi Mining Association

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