An international law enforcement expert will be contracted to come to Guyana and assist the Ministry of Natural Resources in its efforts to interdict gold smugglers.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said the decision was taken following the observation of new trends which seem to suggest that there are attempts by some gold producers to re-engage in smuggling.
Trotman said the expert is not being brought here to target anyone but to advise the government and assess the situation so that there will be a better grip on curtailing smuggling activities.
He would not say at this time where the expert will be coming from.
The government had moved to clamp down on smuggling activities several months ago which led to an increase in gold declaration.
As a consequence, the country stands to make a historic gold production of over 600,000 ounces for the year.
The Minister said despite the good news, smuggling continues. “We don’t expect to eradicate it altogether but we have seen trends that suggest attempts to reengage in smuggling in some quarters,” he added.
Trotman further explained that there were loopholes that were being exploited that the government needed to pay attention to and correct soonest.
He said many people make jewelry and break it so that it can be considered scrap gold which attracts fewer taxes.
“Gold continues to show strong performance. As of today we have crossed the 500,000-ounce mark and we hope to get to 600,000 by December 31st,” the Minister added.
He said the Ministry was in an accelerated drive to get miners to declare and work with the government to make the historic mark of 600,000 ounces.
This will put the Natural Resources Ministry in a position to make a larger contribution to the 2017 budget than it did in 2016.
Again small miners have done better the large scale miners and have actually done better this year than last year.
Trotman said small and medium scale miners continue to bring in the bulk of gold but the larger companies are still doing well.