The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA) has said it is committed to working towards the fulfillment of the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), and has called on Government to support its vision of producing one million ounces of gold annually.
The gold and mining oversight body said on Thursday that gold production is the key to achievement of the Millennium Development Goal to eradicate poverty and hunger, and that body predicts that key to the achievement of the worthy objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals 2020 would be the strong performance of the gold industry of Guyana.
The body has said there is no credible alternative to gold mining, and that it intends to collaborate with small, medium and large scale miners and other stakeholders to urge Government to support the 2020 Vision of a million ounces of gold annually.
In this regard, the GGDMA has made several suggestions to Government; which include allowing the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission(GGMC) to carry out its primary responsibility of developing the mining industry of Guyana; allowing the GGMC to publish the Codes of Practice as required by the 2005 Environmental Regulations for Mining, and allowing the GGMC to finalize and implement its five-year Strategic Management Plan, which was due since 2014.
The GGDMA has also called for budgeting and planning for efficient and effective maintenance of the interior roads, bridges, pontoon crossings, waterways, and landings; the provision of road maintenance field offices in key mining districts, with mandate and resources to repair roads on an ongoing basis; as well as enforcement of the terms of the Road Users Agreement.
The GGDMA has also called for incentives to be given in order to encourage the improvement of eating, sleeping, communication, and money transfer facilities in key interior settlements, along with budgets and plans for police outposts and stations in key settlements, as determined by the relevant security authorities.
Moreover, the GGDMA wants removed the punitive taxes imposed on the small and medium scale miners. “These mostly self-employed business owners and their contractors (such as tributors) arguably pay more taxes than any other self-employed category in Guyana. And the small and medium scale miners pay those taxes upfront, as a percentage of gross earnings”.
The GGDMA has said miners are now forced to abandon low-grade deposits and seek to work high-grade portions of the deposits, in order to stay alive in business.
The GGDMA has said it commends miners for being “tough, resilient and positive”.
“GGDMA urges miners to continue to provide the impetus for the economic and social development of Guyana. GGDMA calls upon the GGMC to provide technical support in the field to small and medium scale miners, to ensure the environmental management of operations. GGDMA calls upon the nation to say no to the selective underdevelopment of small and medium scale mining. Let us all embrace the realistic 2020 Vision of One Million ozs of Gold Annually”, it said.