Gold Board’s $9B treasury deficit sparks call for shift from gold purchasing to regulating

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2016, 13:02 by Derwayne Wills

Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman is convinced that with the Guyana Gold Board racking up a $9B deficit at the Bank of Guyana over the last five or so years, a review of the organisation’s function is necessary which would see it transition into a gold regulator thus reducing its role as a purchaser of gold.

From all indications, this decision awaits a meeting between relevant government agencies and the mining associations, Guyana Women Miners Association and Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, as well as gold dealers.

Speaking to the loan given to the Gold Board from the Treasury, Minister Trotman said, “this was an untenable situation which, we all agree, cannot be allowed to continue. This demanded a review of the 35-year-old association.”

Minister Trotman believes however “there is merit having the organisation function as a regulator to monitor gold dealers.” He further noted calls from gold miners across the county to have Gold Board offices set up in outlying communities like Mahdia.

As it relates to the power of the Gold Board to trade on the world market, Minister Trotman said there are two options available. “One option is that the Board may remove itself altogether from trade but there wouldn’t be any guarantee because it’s a strategic resource,” Minister Trotman said.

The Natural Resources Minister believes there is need for government to be guaranteed access to gold. “So legislatively,” he continued, “we are going examine how that is done.” “The other option is that it retains reserve power to buy gold from time to time.”

Trotman echoed the concerns of miners whom he said feel more confident selling their gold to the Gold Board.