Rupununi Mining Association seeks to conduct its operations in an environmentally friendly way

Dear Editor,

The main objective of the Rupununi Mining Association is to conduct our operations in an environmentally friendly way. We are a humble group of people who are law-abiding citizens that obey the laws, rules and regulations of the country and the regulatory agencies. Our number one priority is safety; we will work in accordance with international mining practices and engineers from the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Department of the Environment to adhere to those rules and regulations. We are trying to work with dignity and integrity in the hope that we will earn decent daily bread for our families.

We are in the process of constructing of a multi-purpose complex, which will house our administrative office where we can ensure compliance. We will ensure that we monitor the miners and that they are working in a respectable and responsible manner, giving first priority to safety. In our multi-purpose complex we will also provide space and conditions to accommodate a police outpost, a medical health centre and an office for the GGMC officers.

For our social and economic development programme we aim to provide comfortable living conditions for the residents. Our concept for living does not mean providing food and adequate health facilities, but we will be assisting in providing sponsorship to eligible students to further develop their academic qualifications. We aim to encourage those who are athletic and gifted in sports by upgrading the roads and infrastructure to encourage them further. We also plan to upgrade the bridges outside the immediate mining areas to provide greater ease of access to and from communities.

Working in an organized manner and following the rules and regulations of the regulatory bodies, we will always sell our gold to licensed gold traders; also we will be paying our royalties and taxes in advance. It is estimated that by paying our royalties and taxes, the government will have sufficient funds to rehabilitate the Moco-Moco Hydro Electricity Station and also build another hydro power station at Kumu. We all need better living conditions and opportunities to improve our living standards. With stable and cheaper electricity, we can industrialize our local products and create many other jobs. The benefits that we will be contributing to the Rupununi are beyond weight or measurement once we are allowed to resume our operations.

Currently, the fisherman can’t sell his fish, the farmer can’t sell his produce, the cattle rancher can’t sell his beef, the poultry farmers can’t sell their chicken, and the list goes on, all because there is no way for the miners to earn a living. The lives and livelihoods of thousands are being affected, and even though in the last statement from the government they emphasized the fact that the Ministry of Natural Resources is working assiduously to resolve this long and drawn out situation, it does not reflect any truth. The general feeling of the miners is that the representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Mr Lawrence does not care about the situation and Mrs Watson cannot handle it.

A pertinent question we have is what are the long term plans that Romanex proposes for the social and economic development of the region, and what can the people expect from them, apart from employment of a minimum six to eight persons like they have now?

We are calling on the Human Rights Association and the Ministry of Labour to visit and investigate the deplorable conditions these workers are faced with.

After the last meeting of the Rupununi Mining Association that was held at Marudi last Sunday, the miners suggest that the government allot the two mountains to the small miners while Romanex can have the other lands that the government is proposing for us. What is good for Peter is just as good for Paul!

We are therefore calling on all the mining syndicates, associations, private miners and stakeholders to support and stand with us in this matter. We are all miners and we know the difficulties faced. After all, gold is the main source of income for Guyana’s economy, so why then are we being treated this way?

Yours faithfully,

Marlon Johnson

President

Rupununi Mining

Association

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