The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, is currently probing reports of the smuggling of Venezuelan gold into Guyana for sale on the international market.
Venezuelan miners have been finding it difficult to attract international buyers as the country continues to face major international sanctions by the United States.
It is suspected that a group of Venezuelan miners has infiltrated the local market with their gold and some local miners have complained that it has placed them at a disadvantage.
Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat told reporters on Monday that a special probe is underway to track the claims by local miners.
“There are complaints that gold from Venezuela is infiltrating the Guyana gold market. Of Course, you will appreciate that there is no way, no means of differentiating or detecting the difference, but ensuring a proper border control and control of mining activities is being examined.” The Minister said.
He said while his Ministry has received various reports from local miners, there is no substantial evidence at this time that points to widescale smuggling of gold from Venezuela into Guyana.
According to the Minister, “as it is now, there is no substantial evidence to point to gold coming across the border from Venezuela. If you ask me there is enough evidence to say the opposite, Guyana’s Gold is leaving our borders and going to brazil and Venezuela, as in smuggling”, Minister Bharrat stated.
The Government is hoping for a full report on the investigations to be completed and handed over by the end of this month.
Already, there is a special Task Force which has brought together a number of Government agencies to examine the problem of illegal mining and other illegal activities in Guyana’s mining districts.
Just recently an underground mining tunnel was discovered by the Guyana Defence Force in Region Nine. The mining tunnel was completely destroyed.
Members of the Joint Services and Geology Officers have also found themselves coming under fire from the Venezuelan side of the border whenever they traverse the bordering communities in Region Seven in search of illegal mining.