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Mining School begins training

GGDMA Representative William Woolford

The Guyana Mining School and Training Centre Inc. got underway on Thursday with a Sector Skills Training Seminar.

The five-day event, which had a ceremonial launch at the Guyana Forestry Commission, will address Confined Space Entry (Awareness); Transportation of Dangerous Goods; Fall Protection; and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System.

Representative of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) William Woolford said an upgrade in the skills available for small and medium scale mining was long overdue. Training for those operators was a priority for the GGDMA.

“At the GGDMA we welcome this start and we look forward to bigger and better things at the level of the technical institutes and trade schools and we’re hoping that in the very near future we will see topics that are more relevant to the small and medium scale gold and diamond mining sector,” Woolford said.

Charge d’Affaires of the Canadian High Commission Daniel Joly said the training afforded by the Mining School would ensure there was a highly qualified and skilled Guyanese workforce in the extractive industry. A large percentage of the medium scale mining operations in Guyana have Canadian principals.

“As a leading mining country, with Canadian companies active in over 100 countries in the world Canada recognises (the necessity) of promoting socially and environmentally responsible mining practices. We’re also concerned about building capacities needed for the resource sectors particularly in countries where Canadian companies are operational,” Joly said.    

The Mining School is partnering with the Canadian College of the North Atlantic and the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland for course delivery.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud said the Mining School training was meant to complement the programmes already on offer at the University of Guyana. He added that a human resources analysis of the mining industry has started to determine the needs and gaps to inform the training.

According to Persaud, the Mining School would also be looking at training for the oil and gas sector.

“This particular undertaking is costing and certainly it’s an investment that government agencies and the ministry are making to develop the human resource base to ensure we have a well-rounded and as it were, modern and very effective natural resources sector,” the minister said.

Fifteen persons comprise the first batch.