WITH the emergence of the oil and gas sector, junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes has assured gold miners, especially small miners, that the government will not place their interests on the back burner.
Gold mining, she said, remains the backbone of mining in Guyana, as it rakes in the most revenue of all the economic sectors. In this regard, she said all attention will not be placed on oil as mining of gold and other precious mineral stones remains equally important.
Broomes was at the time addressing residents and miners of Mahdia and outlying communities of the Potaro-Siparuni region on Radio Mahdia (95.1 FM), recently. This was done after an open-day activity, during which she met with several miners who voiced their concerns about the sector, particularly as regards Region Eight.
Broomes said her visit to Mahdia, which was followed by a visit by Minister Raphael Trotman the very next day, shows that interest in gold mining remains paramount to the government and it is therefore imperative that she visits the people and the fields, to have a first-hand view of their daily experiences.
Broomes said gold mining is important to the government and strategies and systems are being implemented to introduce environmentally friendly mining, with the use of chemicals, free from mercury, as the objective is to think of a future in gold mining, which will be in sync with Guyana’s “green” agenda.
One of the major requests put forward by small miners in Mahdia, is the establishment of a branch of the Guyana Gold Board in the township, which will make it unnecessary for them (small miners) to have to travel to the city to sell their gold. Minister Broomes related that discussions are ongoing with regard to the feasibility of establishing a branch of the gold board. These discussions are at the embryonic stage.
She, however, supports the establishment of at least one commercial bank, more so now that Mahdia has become a town. Broomes also noted that decentralising of the gold board and other areas of mining is on the government’s agenda. Other facilities and services are also on the priority list for Mahdia in the near future, Broomes said.
While miners commended the government for the syndicate initiative, which is bringing empowerment to small miners, one miner related that some of the lands allocated to the syndicates are not easily accessible, because of impassable roads and other factors. The miner also called for miners to be given grants to establish themselves in these areas, since they are deemed high-investment areas. While Broomes reminded the miner that the syndicates were given the opportunity to choose their lands, government is prepared to lend additional support, to assist them in establishing themselves.
“The government will work with you to ensure you get additional support; the better days are yet to come,” Broomes said.