Dragga blocking Mazaruni River to be removed “by any means possible”

Last Updated on Friday, 7 October 2016, 15:11 by Denis Chabrol

The sunken draga .

The sunken draga .

The floating gold mining dredge called a ‘dragga’ that has been blocking the free flow of jet boat traffic on the Mazaruni River would be destroyed at a cost of GYD$24 million dollars, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said Friday.

Patterson said he has already informed Crown Mining, the owner of the dragga, that the vessel would be removed, cut up or otherwise destroyed so that the free flow of marine traffic up the Mazaruni River would be restored for the first time in four months.

“I know that the salvager has started. The instructions are by any means possible; either cut it, tow it, blow it up…It is in the letter- destroy it. I didn’t say blow it up,” he said, adding that one of the options would be exercised very soon.

The Minister said Crown Mining would have to repay government the money that would be paid to the professional salvager.

Patterson said he expressed “disquiet” at the fact that the dredge has been disrupting the lives of miners and communities in the upper Mazaruni River area.  “You cannot have one dredge disrupting he community, not only the mining sector but the persons in there,” he said.

At one stage, two jet boat services had ceased operations, resulting in a shortage of food, fuel and mining supplies to villages there. Students attending two secondary schools in Bartica had been for weeks unable to travel to resume classes for the Christmas term.