Miners Association to continue to lobby for additional benefits for sector
President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), Andron Alphonso, said the sector is continuing to grow with both foreign and local investors.
“The number of persons entering the mining industry is on the rise, we have seen more new entrants both foreign and local. The industry is continuing to grow as is our membership,” Alphonso said as he addressed the 38th annual general meeting of the GGDMA.
The meeting was the first large gathering of the Association since May 2022, when the members of the GGDMA met with Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre. During this meeting the government announced a number of measures that provided assistance to the mining sector.
In reporting on the progress for the past year Alphonso noted that, through strong lobbying efforts and collaboration with the Government, the GGDMA has been able to unlock several benefits for miners, including tax incentives for the industry.
He noted that currently there are a number of issues affecting the industry which must be addressed including the rising cost of production, the lack of adequate infrastructure, labour shortages, and the ongoing effort to find a concrete solution that will allow the industry to transition to mercury free mining.
A mandate was requested by the executives of the GGDMA, and subsequently granted by the membership present, to allow for a review of the organisation’s original charter and to subsequently propose necessary changes in keeping with the current needs of the sector.
Alphonso also outlined some major objectives that the GGDMA will be focusing on in the upcoming year such as:
• renewal of the Investment Development Agreements (IDAs) for Miners.
• improved infrastructure for the Mining Sector.
• opening up of new mining lands.
• allowance for miners to have the option to be paid up to 100% of funds earned from gold sales in foreign currency.
• the removal of restrictions on the age of ATVs for which waivers can be garnered.
According to the Administrative Manager of the GGDMA, Mr. Avalon Jagnandan, the Association has launched an initiative to support miners in need of work grounds. He added that several mining blocks would be made available to miners of all scales to access and urged miners to visit the GGDMA Secretariat for details.
Members in attendance raised concerns over the increasing malaria cases in the interior and called on greater intervention and support from the Ministry of Health.
Members also urged the GGDMA to continue to lobby government for: new roads; rehabilitation and upgrading of existing roads, bridges and airstrips; to examine a reduction in late fees charged by the GGMC, to seek additional funding for Mercury Free Mining Technology and to engage with banks and suppliers for better financial terms for the industry.