Ex­pert com­mit­tee ap­pointed to re­view op­er­a­tions of Gold Board lab

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

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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