Romanex’s mining licence in Rupununi reactivated ; small miners to be allowed to operate

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016, 18:02 by Denis Chabrol

The mining licence of Romanex Guyana Exploration Ltd has been reactivated, paving the way for that company to undertake exploration and mining activities in the Marudi Mountain area of Mining District No. 6 Rupununi, with small miners being allowed to co-exist in the area.

“The resumption of Romanex’s activities will be done according to an approved work plan, which will be monitored by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the GGMC, and is expected to see increased economic activity in the Rupununi,” the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement on Tuesday.

The area had been characterised by irregular mining, with persons occupying lands in the area after operations of Romanex had ceased sometime ago.

The Minister of Natural Resources’ decision to approve the operations follows on a process of verifications, meetings and engagements held between the mining company, the Rupununi Miners Association and the Guyana Women Miners Organisation on the best way forward.

More than 300 small-scale gold miners who had been operating in and around the Marudi Mountain area had called on the government to take urgent action to regularise their operations in light of recent moves by the Canadian-owned company to resume operations
in the area.

Additionally, the residents of South Rupununi have lodged complaints of illicit movement of people, weapons and narcotics in the area.

As a result of this call, and the concerns and complaints made, the Ministry of Natural Resources appointed Major General (Retired) Joe Singh to hold mediation discussions between the aggrieved parties during the period April 22 to 25, 2016 and an agreement
was successfully brokered between the various stakeholders.

One of the agreed terms of this agreement is that the company, on commencement of exploration and mining, would accommodate miners seeking to mine in the area;
provided that they abide by the rules of the company and the laws of Guyana, including the non-use of mercury in their recovery.

The Minster of Natural Resources was in Lethem over the past weekend, and gave an undertaking that within one month, members of the Closed Areas Committee (CAC) and officers of the GGMC will be visiting the area to meet with residents and miners to give anyone displaced by Romanex’s operations an opportunity to submit applications for lands and/or raise other matters connected thereto.

The Marudi Mining Licence (ML) /1-2009 had been in regulatory suspension since October 16, 2014 for issues of non-compliance. Thereafter, Arctex, et al, entered into an agreement to purchase the shares of Romanex on March 13, 2015. Arctex became the de facto owner of the mining licence subject to technical and financial scrutiny.

Following a technical presentation by Arctex/Romanex on April 10, 2015, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) presented Arctex/Romanex with an MOU in July 2015.