More than 50 small miners have been allocated mining claims as government honours its commitment to provide lands for small scale miners in the industry.
Today, in the boardroom of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Brickdam, eight out of 51 small miners were presented with their letters indicating the coordinates of their mining land.
The successful applicants were allocated claims across the six mining districts of Guyana after responding to advertisements by the Ministry. Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said that allocation of land will no longer be done by lottery in the interest of fairness.
“We wanted to make sure that the process was fair, was transparent and open,” Trotman told the small miners at the simple presentation ceremony.
Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman (back centre) with small miners who received their mining lands. Also in photo is Chairperson of the Closed Areas Committee Dela Britton (far left) and Acting Commissioner of the GGMC Newell Dennison (back row far right)
Small scale miners have continually raised their concerns over diminishing lands, and the need for more support from the ministry and its regulatory body the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
Minister Trotman thanked the miners from their patience. “I’m very, very happy that we can keep a commitment made that is to begin to provide mining lands to small miners,” Trotman said.
The selection of successful applicants was processed by the Closed Areas Committee. In February, the Committee was charged by Minister Trotman to ensure that small and medium scale miners were allotted higher yielding lands.
“We had to go through a process of creating guidelines… in our deliberation we were asked to do everything in a fair and transparent manner, and we sincerely hope that we have fulfilled that mandate today,” Chairperson of the Closed Areas Committee, Dela Britton noted.
Britton explained that over 120 applications have been considered for mining lands since advertising for applications. “One hundred and ten (110) of those applications, including the 51 will be sent to the minister shortly,” Britton added.
The miners will also receive assistance from the GGMC in ensuring that they are in compliance with mining regulations, as well as assistance in other start – up processes.
The small scale miners welcomed the land allocations. “It’s been a long time and hard work, thank you so much,” Alicia Figueira said on behalf of the miners.
Meanwhile, Minister Trotman said his ministry in in the process of examining applications from larger bodies to “see how we can take care of syndicates. This is just a start, and we hope to see better things ahead,” Trotman added.
The allocations coincide with the country’s celebration of Mining Week which is being held under the theme “Extracting Minerals, Underscoring Safety, Protecting the Environment”.