GGMC auctions 65 mining blocks
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A miner placing a bid on one of the mining blocks up for grabs on Saturday at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) 2021 Auction (Delano Williams photo)
A miner placing a bid on one of the mining blocks up for grabs on Saturday at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) 2021 Auction (Delano Williams photo)

IN keeping with the government’s goal of boosting local mining activities, the Ministry of Natural Resources in collaboration with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) on Saturday held “Phase 1” of its 2021 Auction of Mining Blocks at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCA).

The auction, which saw 65 mining blocks up for grabs by bidders, with a starting bid of $300,000, is part of the government’s promise of providing miners with equal opportunities in the mining of gold, diamonds and other precious minerals.

The auction outlined available mining blocks within four of the six mining districts with the exception of the Berbice and Rupununi mining districts. The 2021 auction was the first mining block auction to be hosted by the GGMC in the past three years and was open to any Guyanese 18 years and older and companies with at least 51 per cent beneficial Guyanese ownership.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, highlighted the importance of the event, noting the major impact auctions such as this can have on the lives of individual miners and companies.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, speaking at the 2021 Auction of Mining Blocks at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre

The minister acknowledged the significant role mining has played in allowing for exponential and consistent growth of the country’s economy over the years; he highlighted that this is one of the many reasons the government intends to continue investing in the mining sector, while simultaneously investing in the lives of its citizens.

“Mining, as we know it, is one of the major contributors to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mining has been the backbone of our economy for a number of years now. Over the last five to six years, mining has kept our economy afloat, especially with the favourable, high gold price,” Minister Bharrat said.

The Natural Resources Minister noted that since the government took office, innovative systems have been implemented to ensure that the sector continues to develop. Just last week, the government through the GGMC conducted a lottery of medium-scale blocks, whereby some 202 mining blocks were distributed nationally through mining-lottery exercises.

The lottery saw persons paying a non-refundable participation fee of (GUY) $20,000. In an effort to ensure equity within the mining sector, holders of medium or large-scale mining properties were not allowed to participate in the GGMC’s mining-block lottery.

Minister Bharrat further highlighted that the government, since taking office in August 2020, has removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on mining equipment, machinery and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in an effort to decrease the operation costs attached to mining.

He said that while government is committed to broadening the mining sector, great emphasis will be placed on the protection of Guyana’s hinterland.

“We want to grow the mining sector, but to grow it in a responsible way, to grow it in a manner where we will have respect for the environment, where we will have respect for indigenous people and indigenous communities and where we will try to use best practices to ensure we apply our trade in a manner that we safeguard our environment and the rights of our people too,” Minister Bharrat said.

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