The Natural Resources Ministry has committed to improving the lives of all miners, with syndicates seen as a means of optimising opportunities for small miners and not as a ‘divide and rule’ tactic. The Natural Resources Ministry recognises the right of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) to vigorously represent its members’ interests. Further, it is the Ministry’s intention to continue its engagement with the Association to ensure that their views on matters affecting their membership are given due consideration.
However, the Ministry finds it necessary to respond to the GGDMA’s statement on February 28, 2017 accusing the Natural Resources Ministry and the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana of dividing and ruling through its promotion of mining syndicates. Government recognises the existence of three categories of miners – small, medium and industrial scale and their right to work. Given the plethora of applications received from small miners who complained of not having available lands to mine, the Natural Resources Ministry determined to address this need and to organise miners into groups called “syndicates” so that they could benefit from the economies of scale that the cooperative effort offers. The Government of Guyana is as pleased to be associated with the syndicates initiative as it is to support the work of the GGDMA and is prepared to meet with all miners to explain its intentions and mediate any tensions that may have arisen by the mistaken interpretation of the role and purpose of its initiatives. The Natural Resources Ministry is committed to working with all miners, with the singular objective being to maximise the recovery and declaration of gold and other mineral resources in an environmentally responsible and safe manner. Minister within the Natural Resources Ministry, the Honourable Simona Broomes, MP, has been traversing the country speaking with small miners and encouraging them to form mining syndicates to take advantage of economies of scale and work to maximise their production through collective effort. This work continues. It is important to note that the Cabinet will soon be apprised of the plans for the formal establishment of the syndicate initiative. The Natural Resources Ministry iterates that it is absolutely not its, nor the Government of Guyana’s, intention to pit miners against each other or to ‘divide and rule’ in any way.
The Natural Resources Ministry has over the course of 2016 distributed over 235 blocks of mining lands to small miners and this process will continue through the Closed Area Committee (CAC).Further, the Ministry and the Government have had several consultative engagements with the GGDMA on the issue of mining concessions and new tax measures for the sector, as recently announced in the 2017 National Budget; all with a view to fostering greater understanding of these measures and as a result, greater compliance.
The Government, through various programmes, and with the support of international agencies, has sought to build capacity in the mining sector to the benefit of especially the small and medium-scale miners. These projects will continue as we believe that they are necessary for the continued improvement of the sector with regard to maximising recovery and minimising environmental degradation.
Public Affairs and Communications Officer
Natural Resources Ministry