International expert to help close in on gold smuggling

Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2016, 19:23 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government says it is securing foreign assistance to close in on gold smugglers, even as it chases a target of 600,000 ounces for this year.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said the international law enforcement expert would be coming to Guyana “to both advise and to help us with some interdictions.”

“I don’t think that there are any specific targets now. What we are going to probe is the incidence of god smuggling and then see where any of those give rise to dig deeper,” he said. He said the expert would examine way of curbing gold smuggling.

He acknowledged that several suspected gold smugglers have been identified quite a while ago, but the arrest and prosecution of persons required more time and work. “The way that investigations go- you start at a macro level and then you distill and you come down bit it will be wrong to come with a targeted approach without first assessing the magnitude of the issue,” Trotman told a news conference.

He said plans are also being made to stop the misuse of the category called “scrap gold” in which broken jewellery is taken out of Guyana.

The Minister, meanwhile, announced that Guyana has crossed the 500,000 ounce mark of gold declaration and is aiming for a 600,000 ounce target by December 31, 2016. “We are in an accelerated drive to get miners to declare and to work with the government to ensure that we make this historic mark,” he said.

He said steps are being taken to set up syndicates of small miners who would together be responsible for mining blocks that would allow them to share expertise, techniques and equipment as well as jointly procure supplies.