… special attention for small-scale mining – Natural Resources Minister
After numerous consultations with stakeholders and civil society, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has announced that lands are available for mining in Guyana. As such, according to Trotman, applications for permits are now being accepted by the Ministry.
The Minister made the announcement at a recent press conference where he noted that it was agreed by the Closed Area Committee that it is ready to process applications for considerations of perspective permits to mining lands. It was further agreed that first priority will be given to small mining operations.
The size of the allocated lands is approximated 422 acres, which constitutes one mining block as per the legal requirements. The Natural Resources Minister however pointed out that considerations would be made for some miners to be allocated “up to three blocks” which is equivalent to 1266 acres of land.
Trotman however cautioned that this consideration would be based on a miner’s competency and upon the availability of technical and financial resources.
“Many people want to mine but know little about mining or don’t have the equipment to mine and we want to ensure that persons can handle what it is that they are after,” the Minister told the media.
“The [Guyana Geology and Mines Commission] GGMC will receive applications and will provide applications for the Closed Area Committee to allow the Committee to make informed recommendations to the Minister for approval,” observed Trotman.
It was also explained that the lands will be given out in six mining districts, namely Upper Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); Potaro, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni); Mazaruni and Cuyuni, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); North West, Region One (Barima-Waini); and Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo). The details for the process of making the applications and the criteria to be applied would be published in the newspapers and on the Ministry’s website.
In April, a consensus agreement was signed with a group of small-scale miners in Marudi, Region Nine which was aimed at settling the conflict with large-scale mining company Romanex Guyana.
Last November, miners in Marudi Mountain, Region Nine had staged a protest highlighting the threat of being evicted by Romanex Guyana. At that time, over 300 small miners had called on the Government to have their operations regularised so that their livelihood would not be affected.