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Miners angered by new gov’t threats

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 6.17.09 PMThe Guyana Gold and Diamond Miner’s Association (GGDMA ) has expressed disappointment with recent statements and threats emanating for the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and by notices published by the Guyana Gold Board which the Association said seems intent on criminalizing the entire mining industry.

The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, GGDMA, has accused the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of resuscitating an archaic piece of legislation and is using it to threaten legitimate miners and other stakeholders with jail time of up to 5 years for failing to sell gold within a specified period of time.

The Association is also denying claims by the government that miners are hoarding gold, waiting for a better price.

The GGDMA said it believes the real problem lies in reduced production for the first half of 2014 and this is what is responsible for the lower than expected gold declaration figures.

The Association has commissioned a study to investigate the reasons for lower production figures and says it will make the result public. This study, the Association said should demonstrate beyond any doubt the real reason for the shortfall in the Government’s budgeted gold expectation.

The Association said that production and declaration must go hand in hand and miners cannot declare gold they have not owned.

The GGDMA said that while it empathizes with the government’s position of reduced revenue earnings, which are now below budgetary expectations, the miners cannot be made the “fall guys” for the situation.

In light of this controversy the Association is convening a special emergency meeting for all miners this Thursday to discuss the implications of the resuscitated measures and to determine a position on how the industry will move forward in what they see as a climate of criminalization.

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