Following reports of environmental degradation from gold mining activities in the Puruni and Mazaruni areas, the Natural Resources Ministry has dispatched a team to investigate the accuracy of the reports and the possible impact of the reported activities.
The issued was made public recently in a report compiled by the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA).
Acting on the information, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, ordered a team to investigate the matter and ascertain the accuracy of the claim and the severity of the impact, if the reports are indeed true. The team is made up of officers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Natural Resources Ministry’s Compliance Division.
The Ministry has since noted that as part of its 2017 programme, the issue of compliance in all natural resources operations is of high priority.
With the Compliance Division of that Ministry being created in 2016, the Ministry said that it has already been integral in a number of recent compliance enforcement campaigns in collaboration with the GGMC. These, the Ministry revealed, have resulted in the shutting down of a number of mining operations, including river mining, due to environmental infringements.
Further, the Minister has tasked the Division to work with other relevant stakeholders and agencies on a rapid assessment of the situation in order to formulate long-term remedial policy adjustments.
This action is in addition to plans the Government has for encouraging and enforcing compliance with relevant laws and regulations and for technical interventions including the use of dredge tracking technology and drones, the Ministry said.
It was recognized too, by the government, through the Ministry that mining has been for decades, and will continue to be, one of the mainstays of Guyana’s economy. As such, the government agency explained that it will not shirk its responsibility to ensure that it is done in a manner that respects the environment.
Examining Guyana’s efforts in the area of mining, the Natural Resources Ministry said that, “as a nation, our efforts have not been as effective; especially in the area where mining effluent from both within Venezuela and Guyana combine to affect our rivers.”
Having acknowledged this need for collaborative support, the Ministry extended appreciation for the vigilance of agencies such as the GHRA in keeping a watchful eye.
“…we commit to holding environmental stewardship in high regard as outlined in the Ministry’s Mission Statement: ‘To develop, implement and oversee policies for the responsible exploration, development and utilisation of natural resources whilst ensuring the protection and conservation of the environment and advancing the green economy’,” the Ministry said.