Last Updated on Thursday, 31 December 2015, 20:17 by Denis Chabrol
Despite a significant drop in gold prices on the world market, and challenges in the mining sector over the past year, the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) has recorded 451,490 ounces of declared gold, surpassing this year’s target of 380,000 ounces, government announced Thursday.
With the declarations, the GCB has recorded export earnings of approximately US$500 million, making the mineral, once again, the largest earner of foreign currency for Guyana.
Minister of Governance, with responsibility for Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr. Raphael Trotman, said the declaration is a significant achievement in a price-declining market environment and all miners, particularly small and medium-scale miners, must be commended.
“The performance of the gold mining sector was very impressive and very encouraging. With better regulation and more opportunities for miners, we expect to do even better in 2016. We are happy that the good life is coming to fruition,” Minister Trotman said.
The Minister noted that the declaration figures attest to the fact that gold is an important earner in the Guyanese economy and as such, Government will continue to support the sector by providing operational concessions to miners and supporting infrastructural works.
At the start of 2015, the London Fix quoted the price of gold at US$1184. The market prices initially fluctuated around US$1,150 before showing increased volatility and declining to a five-year low of below US$1,100. As such, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) made representation for concessions and incentives.
In October 2015, the Government granted fuel and equipment tax concessions to small and medium-scale miners and an agreement was signed by stakeholders; the Ministry of Finance, Guyana Energy Agency and the GGDMA. It was anticipated that despite the volatile gold prices, these concessions would energise production thus ensuring the sector’s viability in 2015 and further into the future.
With the re-introduction of large-scale gold mining in Guyana, Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources have contributed to the country’s total declaration, during the last quarter of 2015, increasing gold declaration and contributing to an overall increase of 16.5 per cent when compared to December 2014.
In 2016, he said the Government will continue to review mining concessions to ensure that mining interests conform with the Laws and Regulations governing the sector; while the Anti-Gold Smuggling Task Force will continue with its mandate to tighten loopholes to tackle gold smuggling, which has plagued the sector for some time.
Government says it is grateful to the miners who have made the effort to make mining a worthy enterprise and for making declarations in a timely manner.