Three illegal mining operations were shut down from Monday, February 20 to Wednesday, February 22, 2017, in Regions Nine.
A team comprising Ministry of Natural Resources, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency visited the Region 9 communities of Karasabai and Yurong Paru, and Monkey Mountain in Region 8 following a letter written to the Ministry of Natural Resources by Region Nine Chairman, Mr. Bryan Allicock, in early February.
The Chairman’s letter raised the issue of illegal mining activities alleged to be the cause of water pollution.
The team found that the turbidity levels in the Echilibar River exceeded 30 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Unit), the recommended limit in the mining regulations. It was also determined by the officers on the ground that the turbidity levels were as a result of illegal mining operations.
According to the Ministry, it was also found that those operations were ongoing without the requisite permission from the GGMC and the persons working the operations were doing so after receiving verbal permission from a ranger employed by the claim holder – another violation of the GGMC’s regulations.
As a result, the GGMC issued Cease Work Orders to two operations in one location on the left bank of the Echilibar River and to one other operation farther inland. The mining activities were all taking place in the drainage basin of the Echilibar River, which discharges into the Ireng River that borders Brazil.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and the GGMC says they are in receipt of information which suggests that many claim-holders are granting small miners verbal permission to work their claims without seeking the prior approval of the GGMC.
As such, the authorities said they will be taking strong action against such persons – many of whom are prominent miners.