The GGDMA is saddened by the recent death of a miner on the section of the road from Itaballi to the Puruni River Crossing. It is our information that due to the deteriorated condition of the road the vehicle transporting the late miner was stuck for three days. As a result, the hard working miner could not access the urgent medical attention needed and succumbed to illness. The GGDMA takes this opportunity to offer heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family and friends of the late miner. The Association has also received information that several other miners also received injuries to their limbs and incurred millions of dollars in damages to their vehicles being severely damaged due to impassable roads. What a shame!

The Association asks the questions; Is this what our Miners get in return for paying billions of dollars in royalties and taxes? When will the roads be fixed? How much more must Miners put up with? Is this the better life that was promised to our Miners, who makes tremendous sacrifices and contribute so much to Guyana’s economy?

The GGDMA is therefore calling on the relevant authorities to pursue the infrastructure development programme with increased focus and vigor. While we welcome promised improved roads from Linden to Lethem and from Parika to Goshen, that is clearly not sufficient. The key mining districts for current gold production are Potaro, Mazaruni, Cuyuni and the Northwest Districts. The miners rightly demand that the government ensures the relevant authorities fast track the maintenance of the main and arterial roads to the current centers of production in the Mazaruni Mining District in particular. The promised/proposed bridge across the Puruni River is a good idea and that bridge needs to be built soonest.

The GGDMA consulted with miners and submitted its request for improved infrastructure for the mining sector. It is our understanding that a small portion of the billions of G$ dollars in revenue from the local gold and diamond mining industry is more than enough to meet the infrastructural needs of the sector. The GGDMA notes that the United Nations Strategic Development Goal # 9 requires government to develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being. We therefore submit that the call by the GGDMA is valid, reasonable, and worthy of a speedy positive response from the GGMC and more so the Government.

The GGDMA wishes to point out that the deplorable roads which have not been maintained for the past four [4] years or more, have added down time and hence increased the operations cost to miners, who now have to pay double to have their fuel and other supplies delivered to their camps.

One would have thought that sane thinking should be the way forward to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place for the Gold and Diamond Mining Sector which has been the backbone for Guyana’s economy for over the past decade. But unfortunately this is far from the case, all that seems to be happening is that the fees and taxes by the poorly run GGMC seems to be increasing with no proper incentives for the miners. The GGMC has failed miners from all ends, they have demotivated many miners who were stalwarts in the industry and brought great professionalism to the sector, some of these folks have also been harassed by the GRA in terms of taxes to the extent that they are no longer mining. These scenarios along with poor roads continue to account for a decline in annual gold production over the past three [3] years.

It has become the norm at GGMC for certain officials at that agency to incorporate their own interpretation of laws and to wrongfully implement draft policies without the sanctioning of the same from higher ups; or so we have been advised. What is the purpose of consultation if officials at the agency appear to have blatant disregard for this process by proceeding with the implementation without respective changes to policies being officially approved? If this is indeed not the view of the management of GGMC, then the Commissioner must take the blame for the resulting fall out of the ill advised actions of his staff.

The Association is calling for greater collaboration between the GGMC, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and Ministry of Finance to have better roads and infrastructure available for our miners. The GGDMA remains steadfast to promote and protect the rights, interest and welfare of all miners in Guyana.