PAHO clears GGMC of mercury threat


THE Pan American Health Organisation/ World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) team assessing the claims of mercury exposure at GGMC, has not found threatening levels of mercury at the complex.

Last Saturday the WHO/PAHO team orally briefed the Ministers of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, and Public Health, Volda Lawrence, on their findings. “The team did say though that they are not here to certify that necessarily, but they did say that they found that the levels at the GGMC compound and its environs were below any threatening level. That I believe is a testament that the job was very well done,” Minister Trotman said.
The international team of experts visited Guyana last week and, among other things, assessed the mercury clean-up efforts at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Brickdam complex. The team comprised two industrial hygienists, two physicians and a mining engineer and was headed by Industrial Hygienist and head of the team, Catherine Beecham.

The team visited Guyana following the mercury- exposure crisis at the complex. The Guyana Gold Board ceased the burning of gold at the GGMC complex in April following health and safety concerns. The GGB is currently sourcing alternative facilities to conduct its exercises. Minister Trotman noted that the recent mercury-exposure situation at the GGMC complex is an opportunity to improve how the mining industry utilises mercury.
“Every effort will be made and that effort has started to ensure that they are protected to ensure that we deal with mercury and its ill effects,” he said. The Ministry of Public Health will soon pronounce on the findings of the PAHO/WHO team.