The Extractive Industries Transparency Institute (EITI) has highlighted the need for Guyanese authorities to replace the ad hoc system currently in place for mining permits and licences issued by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). In a report seen by this news agency, the international body emphasised the importance of developing clear definitions and distinctions between large-scale licenses and medium-scale permits, and also recommended a tendering process for awarding mineral agreements to ensure responsible and beneficial mining practices.
The urgency of the matter was also underscored as it was categorized as “high priority” in the Guyana 2020 report to EITI.
One of the key concerns raised in the report is the lack of a clear inventory of active permits and licences. To address this, it urged that GGMC considers conducting a comprehensive inventory, outlining the different categories of licenses and permits. By doing so, it would streamline the process and ensure a transparent and accountable system.
Another pressing issue highlighted in the report is the award of multiple mining permits to the same applicant for plots in the same location. According to the GGMC’s list of permits, there was a case where several mining permits were granted to a single applicant under the medium-scale mining permit process, resulting in a total combined acreage exceeding the maximum allowable surface area of 1,200 acres. To rectify this, EITI recommended that GGMC carefully assesses the cumulative acreage of permits awarded to an individual applicant, particularly when they pertain to continuous plots.
EITI also expressed concern about the under-exploitation of large plots covered by mining licences, where investors may lack the necessary technical and financial capacities. To mitigate the risks of failure by such investors and ensure optimal benefits for the government, EITI proposed that GGMC implements a tendering process for awarding mineral agreements. This process would allow the government to select the most advantageous offers from qualified and capable investors.
In light of the EITI’s recommendations, the Guyanese who form part of a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) is already in communication with GGMC to ensure that an editable version of the licenses is available. This will facilitate a thorough assessment of claims awarded during the year 2020, allowing for any necessary revisions and improvements to be made.
EITI noted that the implementation of the suggested measures is crucial for the sustainable and responsible growth of Guyana’s extractive industries. By developing a robust policy framework, it said the government can ensure that mining permits and licences are awarded in a fair, transparent, and economically beneficial manner, while also safeguarding the environment and local communities.