Guyana may open up ‘pris­tine’ lands for gold min­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS -

THE GUYANA gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing open­ing up pris­tine min­ing ar­eas even as it has al­lot­ted more than 200 plots of min­ing land to small min­ers since Au­gust through the Closed Ar­eas Com­mit­tee (CAC), a se­nior of­fi­cial has said.

CAC chair, Dela Brit­ton, told min­ers that 235 ap­pli­cants have been ap­proved for min­ing blocks.

The CAC was es­tab­lished by the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources in Fe­bru­ary to ad­dress small min­ers’ need for land.

“A block con­sti­tutes 422 acres and so that is where we are. (We are) are still in the process of dis­tribut­ing those lands,” Brit­ton said, not­ing that these min­ing lands are within Guyana’s six min­ing dis­tricts.

“We can­not guar­an­tee that the block al­lot­ted will bear fruit; we can­not tell you whether it is rich in min­er­als or what­ever form of min­eral,” he added, while not­ing the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has been is­su­ing a dis­claimer to ap­pli­cants who have re­ceived lands.

Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Raphael Trot­man, said in­ves­ti­ga­tions were done to en­sure the lands are still pro­duc­tive.

“We know that there are min­er­als in those ar­eas. Yes, I think that there is gold. We will not give ar­eas where there is no gold at all,” Trot­man said. “We’re only re­cov­er­ing about 40 per cent of gold on a spot and so many min­ers are go­ing back.”

Pre­vi­ously, lands were al­lot­ted to min­ers through a lot­tery sys­tem.

“Many of them have com­plained to me that it’s ei­ther swamp land, sand,” the min­is­ter said. “Some peo­ple said lands were up in the moun­tains, so we’ve tried to re­form. I think we’ve tried not to re­peat the mis­takes of the past and to en­sure that when a per­son gets land they get something that they had a hand in iden­ti­fy­ing.”

He adds that Cabi­net is ex­am­in­ing “whether or not we open up new pris­tine ar­eas” for min­ing.

In the mean­time, the bound­aries for six min­ing dis­tricts in Guyana have been set.

Last month, Trot­man said Guyana’s gold pro­duc­tion is set to sur­pass 600,000 ounces, well ahead of the ini­tial tar­get of 550,000 ounces.

Gold pro­duc­tion in 2014 amounted to 385,000 ounces.

“In 2015, we took it to 456,000 ounces and in this year, we will take it to over 600,000 ounces — that is our prom­ise.”

So far this year, gold pro­duc­tion of 545,742 ounces has been de­clared up to end of Oc­to­ber.

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