Illegal mining in Guyana leads to a significant loss in revenue for the country and the destruction of protected environments and according to the Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, the government is working assiduously to address the issue.
Minister Bharrat made this statement during the 42 anniversary celebrations of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
The Minister alluded to the government’s reforestation initiative.
This exercise, he said, will reforest 6,000 acres of mined-out lands.
Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo had indicated that this programme will help to mitigate Guyana’s carbon footprint.
Minister Bharrat stated that the mining industry will not be put on the backburner when it comes to the management of Guyana’s extractive industries.
“Now that we are an oil-producing nation, we will not put mining at the back or on the backburner.
“We would like to see mining on par with the oil and gas industry, and I believe that as a country, we have the potential to put mining on par with the oil and gas development,” he added.
During the ceremony held at GGMC’s Headquarters on Brickdam, Georgetown, Minister Bharrat commended the agency and its staff for the efforts made to regulate Guyana’s mining sector.
“You can imagine the challenges which existed in those days, especially in getting into those terrain and interior regions in our country, in terms of our infrastructure.
“I can imagine then there were probably not many roads or pathways to get into certain areas. Yet the people before us managed to build the sector and to grow it to become one of the most vibrant sectors in our economy today.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner of the GGMC Newell Dennison lauded the agency’s achievements and the steps it has taken to remain relevant.
“I believe that any truly relevant organisation must not remain static in how it goes about its business, but must be prepared to improvise and learn from its mistakes taking into account that it is our service that matters,” he said.
During the ceremony, Minister Bharrat, Commissioner Dennison and Chairman of the GGMC Board Jimmy Reece honoured several longstanding GGMC staff with tokens.