GEORGETOWN, Guyana, April 24, CMC – Guyana says at least 94 foreigners were detained after it launched “Operation El Dorado” earlier this month aimed at stopping illegal mining and related activities in the Puruni area.
It said that most of those detained were from Brazil and that the operation involved inspection of mining camps and operations to determine the status of the property being worked, verification of mining privileges and certificate of registration for persons employed, inspection of the requisite documentation, including dredge licences and production books, sanitation, environmental and occupational health and safety compliance.
It said that in addition to the foreign illegal miners, 32 local miners breached the mining regulations.
A Government Information Agency (GINA) statement said that the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment’s Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) will continue to enforce the mining regulations to reduce illegal mining and other illicit activities.
GINA said that Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud, GGMC chairman, retired Major General Joseph Singh and other senior government officers met with a high level delegation from the State of Roraima in Brazil “following the detention of scores of illegal Brazilian miners” and to discuss “Operation El Dorado”.
It quoted Persaud as saying that the operation is intended to target illegal mining and other unregulated mining activities and that a large number of Brazilians had been engaged in illegal mining activities.
But Persaud said that both sides were now examining joint efforts to ensure Brazilian miners are registered and engaged in sustainable mining activities and comply with national laws.
“The Government of Guyana values the friendship of its southern neighbour and the investments made by Brazilians in Guyana,” GINA quoted Persaud as saying.
It said that in addition to the illegal miners, “two river based operations breached the ‘Cease Work’ order and continued working the river banks which is prohibited according to the mining regulations, while gold production records were incomplete and in some cases non-existent”.
It said also that mining on prospecting permit and prospecting licence property occurred contrary to the regulations and that OperaTion El Dorado also uncovered “mining on the prohibited river bank buffer zones, while the Guyana Police Force discovered an illegal firearm.”