Gold declarations for first half of 2019 surpass target

Gold declarations by the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) for 2019 are expected to be surpassed by the end of this year in light of the records for the past six months which are higher than expected.
This is according to Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, who at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) this week revealed that although gold declarations decreased last year (613,072.96 oz compared to 653,754.41 in 2017), there is a “steady and pleasing” upward trend for 2019.
“…being higher than projected for the period Jan-June (300,673.80 oz). As at the end of July, we are almost at the 400,000 oz mark, which represents an approximate average of 55,000 oz per month.”
He stated that earlier this week, latest reports by the Aurora Gold Mine (AGM), revealed that the company was able to produce some 74,000 oz and that this is a testimony to the AGM being able to overcome the difficulties that threatened its gold production and declaration figures during 2018. Additionally, the Minister acknowledged other successes in the mining and mineral sector.
“It [AGM] has shaken off its internal issues dogged it for many months and is returning to full strength and viability…we have three bauxite operations at Linden, Aroaima and Bonasika in Region Three, having welcomed First Bauxite to the fold. In addition, in the petroleum sector, the Petroleum Division should be proud of its achievements as it prepares the nation for first oil in a few months’ time.”
In January, the GGB had projected that for 2019, declarations and exportations are to be pegged at 651,000 ounces. This estimation was established in retrospect to the outcome from 2018, which turned out to be an “encouraging year” for the organisation.
At that time, the Gold Board had stated that plans were on stream to manage and enhance existing emission control mechanisms, obtain a permanent operation base and fulfil the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and National Risk Assessment Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism standards and reduce legacy deficit on the Bank of Guyana and the Finance Ministry.
It also announced that pending capital projects are expected to be completed during 2019 as well as continued training for staffers of the facility.
However, while the Minister spoke of the success of the sector for large miners, small and medium scale miners have constantly decried the hardships they have had to face in the sector. Some small scale miners in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) were forced to suspend their operations at various intervals owing to, among other things, the nearly impassable roads in the area.
Meanwhile, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali recently signalled a widespread overhaul of the gold industry if elected.
Ali recently said that many players in the field have been complaining not only about the deteriorating conditions of the roads but also of increasing taxes. He noted that under his Government, he will remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) on hinterland travel and freight to benefit not only the mining sector but residents and communities.
“We have intention to remove the fees imposed by this Government to sell gold and remove the sliding scale imposed and replace with a simple two per cent final tax…perhaps one of the biggest issues we want to address, based on the complaints, will be better roads. That is why we support easier transport for the mining, forestry and communities by reducing travel time and cost. We will do this by investing a minimum of $2 billion annually to support hinterland roads.”
He noted that the mining sector is in a state of decline as a result of poor Government policies.
“The burdensome taxes have negatively affected recapitalisation and have increased transactional cost. The removal of incentives that brought cost savings to miners and hinterland communities has served to further erode the strides our Administrations would have made.”