Last Updated on Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 20:51 by Denis Chabrol
Small scale miners are being afforded the use of machinery from Romanex Guyana to help increase their recovery rates in the Marudi Mountain mining area, Region Nine.
The Government Information Agency (GINA) reported that small miners raised the complaint that alluvial mining is not yielding production in the Marudi area when Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman and a team met with miners in Lethem on Saturday.
One Marudi miner told the Minister “the alluvial mining is not paying”. However, Romanex Guyana’s representative, Marshall Mintz, said the company has invested in machinery that aims to improve recovery rates.
“The company has ordered mercury-free gold drill…it’s the only way to recover gold from hard rock mining where you don’t use mercury,” Mintz told the miners.
“We, small scale miners having amalgam sheet mats and what not, we would like to know how we can integrate into the system that he’s speaking about,” Leslie Kaladin, a small miner from Marudi questioned.
Mintz explained that the miners can use the machine once it is set up, for a minimal fee. “Miners will have access to it; we will run a workshop that trains them. We will teach you how to use this machinery here; it doesn’t use mercury,” Mintz told the miners.
Romanex Guyana is setting up a box sampling programme in keeping with the mediation agreement which was brokered by the Ministry of Natural Resources between the Canadian company and small miners earlier this year.
“We agreed in the mediation to put together a proper testing programme, and we’re doing that; the equipment is already sitting at Bush Mouth and ready to go in,” Mintz noted.
Romanex Guyana will be testing different types of mills “as well as saprolite separation process on a vibrating screen deck because the present mining activity that uses saprolite and hard rock into one crusher is not acceptable practice for gold recovery,” Mintz explained.
Increasing the recovery rates in gold mining has been a major concern for miners. The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has been testing alternatives to the use of mercury. Guyana signed onto the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013 in Japan. The Convention is an international pact to protect the environment and health from the adverse effect of mercury.
GGMC board member and President of the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO), Urica Primus, assured miners, “The country is also in the process of providing economic alternatives, so while Mr Mintz’s proposal is one to consider, it’s also not something you have to rush into right away. You still have time and the government is still trying to find alternatives that suit every layer of mining.”