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Illegal miners at Marudi Hill, Tassawini ordered to remove

The Ministry of Natural Resources, Duke Street, Kingston.

34 gold miners occupying Mazao Hill and engaging in “dangerous and illegal” mining at Marudi Mountain in Region 9 (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), southern Guyana, were being removed because they breached a 2016 agreement, the Ministry of Natural Resources said Sunday.

Authorities said the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) decided to bring a halt to illegal mining in that area after several requests by Romanex Incorporated, the Rupununi Miners Association and the South Rupununi Development Board.

“In late 2018 and early 2019, several small-scale operators had descended upon the Mazoa Hill area and began dangerous and illegal mining operations. This was a direct breach of the terms of the agreement signed in 2016, hence the current enforcement,” the ministry.

The now four-day old operation by police, accompanying GGMC officers and Ministry of Natural Resources Wardens, stemmed from what that the ministry termed “major deviations” from the 2016 ‘Mediation of the Marudi Mountain Dispute Agreement’.

That accord, authorities said, had paved the way for about 70 small-scale mining operations to  continue operations providing they adhered to the environmental, safety and health stipulations.

The Natural Resources Ministry said from May 1, a general meeting was held to inform persons of the purpose of the exercise and expected outcomes after which removal orders were issued to 34 operators of “crushers” and four operators of hydraulic excavators.

The removal orders expire on Sunday, May 5, 2019.

The Natural Resources Ministry said a similar operation began on May 1 at Wayne Vieira’s mineral properties located within the Tassawini Amerindian Reserve, Barama River. That operation followed a decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice that Vieria has a legitimate right to the concession.

Government said so far eleven wooden sluice boxes have been dismantled and several pieces of tackling associated with the mining operations have been retrieved. “The remaining persons had asked for additional time to remove their equipment from the mineral property. Wayne Vieira would be expected to secure the mineral property within a specified period,” the Ministry said.