River-mining licencing halt is temporary – Min Persaud

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud says the halt in the processing of new river-mining claims is a temporary one during which time a joint working group will be reviewing the guidelines.

The ministry earlier this month announced the decision due to numerous complaints about pollution and environmental degradation. “While we will not compromise the integrity of rivers and creeks, harm residents who depend on their waterways for drinking water and livelihood and damage marine life through mining pollution, we are committed to working with all stake holders on ensuring the best river mining practices. We have not stopped nor intend to stop river mining. All what has happened is that there will no processing of new application for river mining claims for one month to allow a review of river mining practices by the EPA, GGMC and GGDMA as agreed to by stake holders,” Persaud said.

A release from the ministry Tuesday night noted that a quarterly meeting was held with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) Tuesday morning at which they reviewed joint interventions as well as the process of regulating the mining sector. “Among the issues discussed were environmental concerns relating to river mining, waste management at camp sites, security in mining districts, availability of mining lands and miners being displaced by extending village boundaries, etc.

In addition, the meeting agreed of the composition of a technical joint working group that included the GGDMA, EPA and the GGMC to carry out a review in one month of environmental issues and concerns pertaining river and tributary mining,” the release stated. Further, it added, there was also agreement on the issue of river mining where the ministry and the GGMC made it clear that there has been no decision to stop river and tributary mining, but rather a temporary hold on accepting new river and tributary claims, until all stakeholders would have met and review acceptable guidelines. The halt in the processing of new licences saw miners on Tuesday expressing their ire at the ministry at a GGDMA meeting on Tuesday and adopting a no confidence vote in Persaud’s handling of the sector

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