Representatives of ten newly formed mining syndicates on March 29, 2017 met with Ministers of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Hon. Raphael Trotman and Hon. Simona Broomes along with a team from the Ministry including Commissioner of Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Mr. Newell Dennison, Manager of GGMC Mines Division, Ms. Dianne McDonald, Chairperson of the Closed Area Committee (CAC) Ms. Abiola Henry and Permanent Secretary Mr. Joslyn McKenzie to discuss procedures and plans that will see this initiative advancing in a structured and regulated manner.
Present at the meeting were representatives of syndicates from areas including Issano, Kurupung, Fourteen Miles, Albouystown, Imbaimaidai, Mahadia, Parika and West Berbice. Syndicates now boast a collective membership of close to 700 persons.
In his introductory remarks, Minister Trotman reminded those present that the Ministry has been mandated by the President to ensure all categories of miners – small, medium and industrial scale can participate and benefit equally from the mining sector, and that it must be done in a way that respects the environment, which includes those who work in the sector and reside in the communities as well as the flora and fauna. The gathering was informed of His Excellency’s words that the “environment should not be ruined in the pursuit to get everything out of the ground”.
Minister Broomes noted that the formation of syndicate bodies signals that Government is serious about developing the sector by providing opportunities for development and reminded miners of the great responsibility they now have as the first group to embark on the initiative to make good use of the opportunity.
During the meeting syndicate representatives were updated on the work of the Closed Area Committee (CAC) and the process by which land can be acquired as well as the procedures necessary to formalize the new syndicates to ensure they are compliant with mining and fiscal laws.
The enthusiastic group of representatives shared their needs, concerns and proposals for moving forward which included access to viable land, security and infrastructural needs, training and a review of the work and role of the GGMC.
In response, Minister Trotman thanked the representatives for sharing frankly, honestly and passionately and assured that the Ministry was working in their best interest and was prepared to follow up on their concerns and suggestions. He also commended them for not only forming syndicates at the community level but for moving further to organize at the national level through the establishment of a national syndicate body. Minister Trotman committed to further engagement on a quarterly basis and indicated his intention to facilitate a meeting that will lead to better understanding and relations between the syndicate groups and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA).
Representatives of the syndicates were appreciative of the initiative and the opportunity to meet with the Ministers and expressed thanks for the effort. One representative shared that the syndicate initiative was “like a breath of fresh air” while another noted that the initiative was not just a single opportunity but was giving opportunities to thousands of people by extension.
The syndicate initiative was introduced as a response to the pleas by small miners who complained of not having available lands to mine. It is intended to help members maximize production and economies of scale through collective effort.
The Government of Guyana is pleased to be associated with the syndicates initiative and continues to extend its full support to miners at every level towards the advancement of the mining sector.
March 29, 2017