Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2016, 13:06 by Derwayne Wills
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has signalled government’s intention to engage the mining organisations after a recent announcement that the Gold Board considered purchasing gold from small and medium-scale miners at 3% less than the world market price.
Those meetings with the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) as well as the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) should happen in early 2017, according to Minister Trotman who said this decision could also depend on the possibly transition of the Gold Board from a purchasing body to a regulating body.
“If it is that the Board will be doing less buying, our need to go after that (3% less than market price) rate may be diminished,” Minister Trotman told the press corps today at his Ministry’s year-end news conference.
Plugging the merits for government’s proposed 3% rate, Minister Trotman warned that when gold is bought at the London Rate, “you are buying at a loss.”
The GGDMA and the GWMO had, in November when the announcement was made, called on government to “immediately remove from consideration the idiotic proposal to force local gold miners to accept 3% less than the world market price for gold produced.”
“No miner, under any circumstance, will support this proposal. Our two associations are united in this position,” the miners’ organisations said in a joint statement.
The GGDMA and GWMO said if small and medium scale gold miners sell their gold for 3% less than the world market price to the Guyana Gold Board they would lose GYD$8,000 for every ounce of gold sold.
The GGDMA and GWMO claimed that it is a fact that the Gold Board, due to mismanagement, lost over GYD $10 billion of taxpayer dollars during the period of 2012 to 2014 and now the government want miners to subsidise this failing institution.
As it stands, Guyana’s gold declaration for 2016 amounts to a historic 690,000 ounces. Minister Trotman said this success was in part due to small and medium-scale miners.
when asked about gold smuggling, the Minister responded he wouldn’t wish to hazard a guess quantifying how much gold might have been smuggled this year, but directed those questions to the Ministry of Public Security and the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) which are lead agencies in tackling gold smuggling.
Minister Trotman did say the Guyanese anti-smuggling authorities will meet with their Surinamese counterparts since there was some indication of gold smuggling into Guyana’s dutch neighbour. Minister Trotman could not however quantify the smuggling.
“higher declarations are as a result of government’s policy on cutting back and restricting smuggling as well as enhanced activities in the mining district,” the Natural Resources minister noted.