Gov’t closes Gold Board lab after Mercury threat

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Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman has announced that the burning of raw gold at the Gold Board lab will cease today.

In a statement, the Ministry said miners will receive due notice of the alternative and authorised places at which they could sell their gold.

Today marked the third day of strike by staffers at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) over the operations at the lab.

In mid-March, the GGMC and the Gold Board acknowledged that there was a problem with mercury emissions.

The Ministry said that the Guyana Gold Board does not use mercury in its operations but that gold brought to the Gold Board for sale and processing may contain mercury which is emitted during smeltering.

As such, the Ministry said it will continue to work with miners to ensure the use of mercury in their operations is minimized.

“The Government of Guyana also continues to work towards the implementation of the Minimata Convention that will see the significant reduction and subsequent eradication of the use of mercury by miners in the recovery and amalgamation of gold,” the statement noted.

The use of mercury negatively impacts the lives and environments wherever it is in use – whether in the Georgetown, or in hinterland communities, and must be eradicated, the Ministry said.

To this end, the Ministry is calling upon the various mining associations such as the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) and the National Miners Syndicate (NMS) to cooperate with the various government authorities to eliminate the scourge of mercury from our environment.

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