The Guyana Gold & Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) has taken further proactive steps to educate miners on policies and procedures that would improve the sector, protect the environment, provide better safety and security, and continue to foster good relations with the authorities and surrounding communities.
The latest effort was in the form of a meeting and information session where the former Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Rickford Vieira, now a consultant, addressed miners upon the invitation of the GGDMA this week.
The consultant presented a framework with an overarching plan that focuses on three areas: informative compilation, institutional strengthening, and capacity building, targeting the improvement of information systems, revising and/or creating laws and regulations, technological training for miners, organisational management, and the improvement of the management of the promotion and exploitation of semi-precious stones and industrial minerals.
According to the GGDMA, Vieira also underscored the importance of reducing exposure of miners and communities to mercury, eliminating the spread of mercury to the environment, and overall improving the gold mining sector by using different basic exploration methods and other systems to improve gold recovery. It was also noted that there should be a keen focus on developing health and safety standards for the sector which creates significant employment.
The GGDMA said some of the highlights of the discussion between the consultant and the miners, particularly small and medium scale miners, included the relatively low recovery (as low as 40%) – attributed to the poor design of sluice boxes (primary gold recovery); the lack of knowledge of other available mineral processing techniques; and the lack of a capacity-building framework to provide support.
Another issue raised was the lack of proper functioning laboratories to conduct research and to provide services for the sector. “These services include size distribution analysis, grind ability tests, gravity recoverability gold tests, bottle roll cyanidation tests, and mineralogical assessments,” the GGDMA noted. The association added, “The labs can serve for capability building for miners, research for University of Guyana students and promotion of mercury-free techniques.”
Meanwhile, the GGDMA also noted that Vieira’s presentation highlighted the need for better rehabilitation techniques and regulations for mined out areas, using examples from Brazil and French Guiana and the changing landscape for underground mining. More specifically, the GGDMA contended that since mining contributes significantly to the GDP of the country “there is a need for an efficient regulatory mechanism with high penetration of e-governance systems to prevent illegal mining (real-time satellite images) and value leakages. At the same time, the regulatory environment should reflect the ease of doing business with simpler, transparent, and time-bound procedures for obtaining licences, permissions, application, and paying for mining rights.”