Chief Executive Officer of Troy Resources, Ken Nilsson lamented the bureaucratic red-tape in getting certain aspects of business done in Guyana, but he remained very optimistic about the Karouni Gold Project especially if the gold price increases again in another year or two. “It’s been a bit of a drawn-out affair but I believe it’s very close to being signed off at the moment,” he said, adding that the delay might be partly due to difficulties that the government was currently facing.
Nilsson said that once the 15-day period for the Environmental Impact Assessment is concluded and the mineral agreement is signed, mining could begin in another two months. Due to the decline in the world price for gold, the company expects to produce 350,000 ounces of the precious metal, down from 1.6 million ounces when the price was close to US$2,000 per ounce.
The company has already bought a ball mill worth US$7 million. Troy Resources’ investment of US$77 million in the Karouni gold project is expected to provide mostly Guyanese with 600 jobs.
Speaking at the handing over of 10 Doosan trucks and two excavators worth GUY$1.2 billion to the mining company, Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud remarked that “a very detailed, a very comprehensive” mineral agreement could be signed “very early next month.” The agreement would include tax concessions and the royalty to be paid on gold.
He said that Troy Resources has been frequently seeking his intervention for various aspects to be expedited. “We have a bit of impatience and perhaps that impatience is also shared by the company itself because my email- and there’s not a single week that goes by that I don’t get an update or a call for my intervention to either move some process forward so that the project can take place,” he said.
Troy Resources’ CEO praised the Minister for doing his best to clear certain hurdles, although some of the challenges are tied up in the bureaucracy. “To the Minister’s credit he does try to help us as much as he can but at the end of the day you have to follow the bureaucratic rules in this country and it’s not always easy and it’s a very convoluted system and lacks some of the really basic ingredients in terms of the fact that you have a protocol for everything that is open to everybody,” Nilsson added.
He added that delays were costing the company money that could have been spent on activities that would eventually benefit Guyanese
The minister assured that efforts were continuing to clear existing issues without short-cutting any stage such as the granting of an environmental permit or concluding a detailed and comprehensive mineral agreement.