Micobie facing degradation from illegal mining – APA
The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) has raised serious concerns over the act of illegal mining on lands at Micobie village, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), resulting in environmental degradation.
The situation was observed by its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist and Forest Policy Officer during a visit to the community earlier this month.
Land degradation is described as a process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human-induced processes acting upon the land. This disturbance to the land is most often undesirable.
At the Micobie area under question, a large portion of the land has already been washed away and is moving closer to the forest resources.
Guyana Times understands that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) is aware of the issue and has issued a removal order to the owner of the illegal dredge.
While illegal mining and logging have long been problems for the Government and the source of revenue leakages, the new Administration is clamping down on the scourge, conducting operations over the past month that resulted in illegal logs being seized and the destruction of illegal mines.
Last month, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat during an interview with the media said that when the PPP Government took office, illegal mining and logging were very prevalent. Bharrat noted that one way they have been addressing the problem is by interagency collaboration, between the Guyana Defence Force (GDF); Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips, who once headed the GDF; the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and other agencies.
“Upon assuming office, what we found is that there have been a lot of illegal mining and logging as well. We’ve been clamping down on illegal logging as well. We’ve seized a number of logs in the past month. Mining is the same issue. A lot of illegal mining,” Minister Bharrat explained.
Apart from communities in the interior, even the Iwokrama International Centre discovered more evidence of illegal activities within the reservation and reminded of the penalties as outlined in the Iwokrama Act.
Three weeks ago, the Centre said during planned monitoring and enforcement exercises in the week of October 16, Iwokrama staffers along with Natural Resources Ministry Corp of Wardens and the Guyana Police Force witnessed more intrusions of illegal mining operations, not only in the Iwokrama protected forest, but also in the one-kilometre buffer zone on the other side of the Siparuni River.a