Better approach to mining in Guyana needed – Allicock

…raises concerns about impact of mining on Amerindian lands
Continuous exploitation of the country’s natural resources will significantly impact the environment and

Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock
Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock

communities, including hinterland communities which serve as home to hundreds of Guyanese. It is, therefore, crucial to strike a balance between the two.
This is according to Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, who during a brief interview with Guyana Times, explained that there needed to be a better approach to mining in Guyana.
Allicock emphasised that all employees involved in the extractive sectors must be trained and properly educated on the importance of environmental protection and the disastrous consequences that will follow if the environment continued to be exposed to dangers.
He noted that there needed to be a more modern system used in the extractive industries, particularly as it related to mining.
“We need to have better scientific methods of approaching the mining areas. Persons should be trained to understand that when they are going to these areas, they must understand how they approach the environment,” he stated.
He reiterated that a modern scientific approach would, no doubt, result in less destruction of the environment.
“If you have scientific knowledge of how to trace the gold, there will be less destruction than what is happening now – digging all over the place without knowing if the gold is there, but if you have the scientific way of doing things, you would actually follow the channel rather than destroying these areas,” he outlined.
He added that persons needed to understand the importance of protecting the environment.
“They need to understand too that when you dig a hole, you need to fill it back and mining in the ravine areas, they push stuff into the river which creates a lot of waste, blocking the river,” the Minister said.
Recently, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon announced that Government was moving to establish a Land Reclamation Unit, aimed at the restoration of the land disturbed by mining operations.
Land reclamation remains a sore issue in the mining sector as many hinterland communities have been left with scarred landscapes after mining concessions were exhausted and operations moved to other locations.
Communities such as Mahdia, in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) have been left with many pits and these were not refilled. These form breeding grounds for mosquitoes and, hence, increase the spread of malaria.
Residents of indigenous communities like Karrau and Tasserene in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) have also complained of similar problems where nearby mining activities are polluting their waterways and making life excruciatingly uncomfortable. (Kizzy Coleman)