Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman has agreed to review the recently implemented processing fee of $2,500 per ounce of gold declared – an initiative that has been heavily criticised since it took effect a few months ago.
The original proposed fee was $4,000 per ounce but following a major outcry from stakeholders, the government reduced the amount to $2,500 but miners were still not satisfied and continued their protests.
Trotman, on September 7, met with members of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA), the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GMWO) and members of various mining syndicates under the National Mining Syndicate to hear a number of ongoing concerns in the sector including issues of taxation, issues related to the functioning of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), interior roads, the processing fee, revision of Mining Regulations, security for miners and mining lands for syndicates.
According to a release from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Trotman promised to review the fee with the aim of finding a rate that was reasonable at all levels of mining.
The meeting, which was held at Cara Lodge, also saw the participation of a number of Government agency representatives in an open and frank discussion of the issues. These included those from the GGMC who addressed matters related to the functioning of the regulatory agency, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) who addressed matters of taxation and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure who spoke on matters related to road construction and rehabilitation in the mining districts.
With regards to the Mining Regulations, the Minister took a decision to resuscitate a committee headed by Ministry of Natural Resources’ Permanent Secretary Joslyn McKenzie and with members that the body of miners will propose to review the regulations. Minister Trotman also committed to addressing some of the issues with his colleague Cabinet Ministers to bring them to a resolution.
The release also noted that Minister Trotman lauded the various miners’ representative bodies for coming together to make representation on the issues affecting them. He noted that while some of the criticism from the miners was harsh, they needed to be heard.