The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) has expressed its deep disturbance over the condition of roads in the interior regions and the length of time it is taking Government to commence rehabilitation of those roads.
The organisation has called for the speedy awarding of contracts, which it believes would aid in the immediate commencement of work.
“These deplorable roads have added downtime and hence increased the
(operational) cost to miners, who now have to pay double to have their fuel and other supplies delivered to their camps. Additionally, many of our miners’ trucks and other equipment are being severely damaged due to these roads. This once again puts additional financial pressure on the miners (in the form of) unnecessary maintenance cost,” the GGDMA said on Friday.
It said one would believe that “sane thinking” should be the way forward, to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place for the Gold and Diamond Mining Sector, which has been the backbone of Guyana’s economy over the past decade.
Unfortunately, the organisation has said, this is far from the case, as all that seems to be happening is that fees and taxes levied by Government agencies are being increased, and there are no proper incentives for the miners.
The GGDMA has said that miners have already been paying billions of dollars in royalties to the GGMC when they sell their gold, and the organisation wants to know why some of that very money is not being used to maintain the roads leading to the mining areas.
“Why was the cost of maintaining these roads not properly reflected in the 2017 Budget?” the GGDMA questioned, even as it called for greater collaboration between the GGMC; the ministries of Natural Resources, Public Infrastructure and Finance; and the Hinterland Infrastructure Committee [HIC] to have better roads available for our miners.
In his 2017 budget presentation, made late last year, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had allocated some $2.5B towards the construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of hinterland roads and bridges. However, there has thus far not been any work done in this regard.