Proposal to pay miners 3% less than world market prices “idiotic”- Mining bodies
According to local mining bodies, the government is considering a scheme at the level of cabinet which would force small and medium scale miners to sell their gold for 3% less than the world market price to the Guyana Gold Board.
In a statement on Thursday, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Women Miner’s Organisation (GWMO) said at current market prices, miners will lose $8,000 for every ounce of gold sold. This will see miners now paying out almost 10% ($25,700 for every ounce) of the gold they earn, to the Government of Guyana.
This measure, it notes will not only plunge the already stagnant economy further down but also kill employment and consequently increase criminal activities.
The bodies believe that “this is a move to ensure that the incompetent and mismanaged Guyana Gold Board stays afloat. We the miners, see this as another move designed to cripple local small and medium scale miners in a continued move by the current administration to miniaturise the local sector.” They said the foreign companies, who mainly export their gold will be exempt from this proposal.
“It is a fact that the Gold Board, due to mismanagement, lost over 10 billion of taxpayer dollars during the period of 2012 to 2014 and now the government want miners to subsidise this failing institution” the statement said, when buying gold from local miners at the fixed world market prices has been the norm for the Guyana Gold Board and Gold Dealers in Guyana for over 20 years.
According to the bodies, the Government has already proposed to remove ALL assistance to the industry, including VAT relief, fuel relief, duty-free vehicle concessions and tax relief on spares and mining equipment. This along with potential hikes in rentals, more stringent regulations and additional taxation “will certainly kill the already struggling local mining industry.”
It is alleged that this proposal has been tabled without any consultation with miners or the mining associations.
“Despite all the rhetoric about consultations, this proposal was secretly developed and put into motion. We are now suspicious of all our previous consultations and ask the government: Can we now trust your word? As representatives of the industry, do our words carry ANY weight at all when considering the decisions that you are making that will affect our livelihood? Or are these “consultations”, many times after the fact, just for show?” they questioned.
As such, the GGDMA and the GWMO accused the administration of making only empty promises, thus making life harder for the small and medium scale miners.
The mining bodies reject the proposal which they deem “idiotic”.
They are demanding “an immediate halt to this proposal and a commitment from the Government of Guyana that they are serious about meaningful consultations.”
A meeting will be hosted with miners across Guyana to inform them about the impending changes and to discuss how it will affect their livelihood commence next week.