After carrying out tests on scores of staff members from the Guyana Gold Board for signs of mercury poisoning, Chairman of the Board, GHK Lall said on Friday that the results are “comforting.”
Putting to rest fears that staffers had suffered from severe mercury poisoning and may be hospitalized to undergo treatment, Lall said the findings of tests have not created any cause for major concern.
All staff at the Gold Board who were exposed to mercury during the gold refining process along with just over 100 staff from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission were tested.
The officials are reporting that just about sixty were found to have higher than normal levels of mercury in their bodies.
But these numbers are not worrying and the Gold Board intends to continue using international specialists to continue monitoring the situation.
Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman joined the Gold Board members to report that no one has been hospitalized because of exposure to mercury.
He told reporters that while the 60 persons have been found to have higher than normal levels of mercury in their bodies, furthers assessment will be conducted to see if it is as a result of other exposures.
Trotman said the Gold Board is not opposed to also testing persons who live and work nearby and is committed to ensure that it meets the cost of anyone who requires treatment.
Tests were done by Kaizen Environmental Services along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Gold Board intends to bring a firm out of South Africa to explore the possibility of setting up a gold refinery here.
Lall said the government and board take seriously the health concerns surrounding mercury and said the Gold Board remains committed to openness on the issue.
As such he intends to make the report public.