Guyana Goldfields says underground mining explorations ‘looking great’
Canadian-owned Guyana Goldfields Incorporated is currently in the exploration stage of underground mining at its Aurora Mines. The results have so far been very positive with no major problems.
The company was on May 1 given clearance by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin the underground mining exploration.
Underground mining is the process of extracting minerals and ores that are buried too far underground to be mined using surface mining methods.
The Ministry of Natural Resources toured the company’s Aurora mines in north-west Mazaruni on Tuesday.
Perry Holloway, Senior Vice-President for Strategy and Corporate Affairs, said the EPA has given the company a permit to pursue 2500 metres of underground exploration and test mining for 300,000 tonnes of ore.
“We have started.
“We have gone down a couple hundred metres – a little over 400 metres,” said Holloway.
“Everything so far is looking great. The rocks are cool; some people thought they would be hot.
“There is very little water some people thought it would be a lot since we are close to the Cuyuni river,” Holloway said.
According to Holloway, they will soon begin drilling to determine where the gold is and how much it is.
“There is much more underground than we thought and a little less in the pit, so that means our future is definitely underground. Once we get a little more data from this drilling and if it is as positive as we suspect it is, then we, of course, will be going to the Government to get permits from GGMC and EPA to do a full-blown underground mine,” Holloway said.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, said the target for the underground mining is 150,000 ounces of gold per annum.
“This is historic for Guyana. We have had underground mining in Guyana before, I am not saying that this is the first, but certainly, it is the only company doing it right now and it is good that Guyanese can see what an underground mine is and how it functions,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that they were a bit of setbacks with workers at the mine. On July 3 this year, operations were shut down for three days at the company due to industrial unrest.
Work was resumed at the mine after the company and the workers came to a resolution.
“I don’t think everything is at perfection stage, but I think we are getting there; there is a better understanding now by workers and management, apart from that there was some extra-long rainy season we are said to be on target.”
Meanwhile, twenty-nine youths from all the administrative regions in Guyana on the Ministry of Natural Resources apprenticeship programme also visited the Aurora Mines.
The programme introduces the youths to the functions and operations of the natural resources sector and caters to youths between 15 and 18 years old.
The Natural Resources Minister said the experiences have been life-changing for the youths
“I want our young people not to see this as a place they need to leave.
“I would like them to stay and see their country in all its majesty and glory, the forests, the wild animals, the mining and the people who do this work,” the Minister said.
The programme lasts three weeks and started earlier this month.
The students have already visited the local offices of petroleum companies and communities that engage in gold and bauxite mining, forestry operations, the savannahs in the Rupununi, the Guyana/Suriname border and the Iwokrama Nature Reserve.