Guyana’s gold mining sector, a major income earner, suffered a decline in the first half of the year and even though the sector is showing signs of improving performance, the government will engage miners and probe any issues raised.
This was highlighted by President Dr. Irfaan Ali at a press conference on Saturday.
The President highlighted Guyana’s sound economic performance in the first half of the year. However, he acknowledged that there was a “slothful declaration” for gold in the first quarter of the year.
The Ministry of Finance’s half-year report, issued after the President’s press conference, offered additional details. It noted that at the end of June, gold declarations stood at 209,756 ounces compared to 236,728 ounces declared during the same period last year.
It added, “While declarations from the lone large producer [that is the Aurora Gold Mine Inc.] expanded by 6.1 per cent year-on-year, this was outweighed by lower declarations from the small- and medium-scale producers.
“Declarations from the latter fell from 188,956 ounces in the first half of 2022 to 159,084 ounces at the end of June this year.”
And overall, the report noted that the gold mining sector declined by 11.4 per cent in the first half of the year.
Cognisant of these figures, the President assured persons that the government will engage miners and other stakeholders and address any issues in the sector.
Already, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) in a release issued in August said the sector has been hit by several issues including the migration of gold miners into the booming construction and oil and gas sectors. The body also raised concerns about gold smuggling, an issue Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo previously said the government was probing.
Meanwhile, President Ali noted that there are some signs of better fortunes in the gold sector.
“We have seen a marked improvement in the last 30 days, but that is an ongoing conversation that will be supported by various consultations, and investigations that we are doing in the entire sector so that we can have a firm understanding and take the necessary policy, make the necessary policy intervention that would see the continued growth and expansion of this industry,” Dr. Ali said.
The Finance Ministry’s report noted that improvements were indeed observed in the third quarter of the year and it is believed that those improvements coupled with “strengthened efforts by the regulatory authorities” are expected to help the sector rebound.
And it is projected that the sector will expand by 5.3 per cent overall this year. The report acknowledges that gold prices are higher than usual currently.