EITI urges that mineral agreements be published soon
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has flagged the Natural Resources Ministry for not making public the recent mineral contracts that were initiated.
In its 2017 report, EITI suggested that Guyana must comply with requirement 2.4 (a) of its 2019 Standard, which states that implementing countries are required to disclose any contracts and licenses that provide the terms attached to the exploitation of oil, gas, and minerals.
However, National Coordinator of EITI Guyana, Dr Rudy Jadoopat stated that these agreements are yet to be published for public scrutiny.
“The Minerals agreements have not yet been published. The Government made an announcement that it is going to publish the mineral agreements and they are going to make [it] publicly available,” he outlined.
Dr Jadoopat made it clear that the Secretariat will be working with the Natural Resources Ministry to ensure that these contracts are made public as it is a requirement by the EITI Standard.
“That has not been done so far as of now [publishing of the minerals agreements], so we are looking forward for more work to be done to allow the mineral agreements to be made public.” When asked about when these agreements are likely to be published, the National Coordinate had this to say.
“I would not be able to say when, but the Government promise, but the Natural Resources Minister is on record for announcing that the minerals agreements will be published. We will be asking the same question you are asking when this will be done and we are looking forward for it to be done as soon as possible.”
In April last year, the Natural Resources Ministry had moved to engage a number of companies for the release of mining and forestry contracts but this is yet to materialise due to concerns being raised by stakeholders.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman stated that the companies were written to, but the majority of them objected to the publication of such documents. According to him, they are against their competitors viewing sections of the contracts that provide valuable information. On the other hand, others have asked for an extended period to grant permission.
“We have written the other concessionaries for mining and for forestry. Some of them have expressed their objections to the publications. Some of them have said that they need further clarifications from their head offices. While they may not have given precise reasons on why they might have objected or asked for further time, a lot of it has to do with ‘if I have this, I don’t want my competitors to know’. That is what is proprietary,” he said.
As part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), all contracts from the oil and mineral resources must be publicised to ensure transparency.
But Trotman stated that while Guyana has gained membership, they are now working to establish a framework to adopt and implement the requirements.