The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has opened some 319 blocks of land within the six mining districts and small-scale miners were on Friday allowed to partake in a lottery process to obtain a plot.
Through the Natural Resources Ministry with assistance from the Closed Area Committee (CAC), stakeholders were tasked with selecting a district of their preference and choosing a random number which would determine the plot of land to be given. After submitting relevant information, the Commission would then proceed towards allocating the said land.
With no guarantee that their plot would prove wealthy in natural resources, many entered the lottery and selected within the six districts – Mazaruni, Berbice, Potaro, Cuyuni, North West and the Rupununi.
Speaking at the activity, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman stated that this initiative surfaced after complaints from miners about the absence of lands to carry out mining activities. As such, he believes this will remedy the issue significantly.
“I meet persons who ask for access to mining lands. We have made a commitment to get those lands to you. I know some of you have been waiting some time,” said Trotman.
He explained that this is the first of a series of lotteries which will be drawn with persons from remote locations to provide equal opportunities. These include Matthews Ridge, Port Kaituma, Bartica and Mahdia over the next two months.
He explained, “This is the first of a series of lotteries; the first in Georgetown and we are going to go to the six mining districts and also hold similar lotteries. We do hope and expect that there will be some mineral recoverability in what you’re given”.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of the GGMC, Newell Dennison acknowledged that this is a fair process for the lands to be distributed.
Recipients must submit proof of identity through a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) certificate, address and other relevant documents by April 22 or forfeit their opportunity to gain access to the lands.
Out of all the districts, Mazaruni provided the largest number of plots. The activity saw as much as 100 persons entering the drawing to be granted a mining plot.