GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 14, CMC – The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is assisting Guyana in building capacity in environmental management of the gold mining sector.
The WWF has provided a GUY$12 million (One Guyana Dollar = US$0.01 cents) cheque to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment as part of a one- year project aimed at training miners and other stakeholders upgrade the codes of practice and assist in the distribution of mercury.
The project is being executed by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Environment Minister Robert Persaud said the government welcomes the initiative, which is part of its quest for better environmental management.
Persaud said that issues such as environmental management of the mining sector, particularly the use of mercury and human resource skills development, and updating of the codes of practices and guidelines are critical.
He said collaboration with organisations such as the WWF, is certainly helpful, and will assist the ministry to improve and enhance what is already being done in the mining sector, thus, contributing to national development and growth.
The ministry has been engaging the relevant stakeholders and agencies including the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GDDMA) and GGMC to review, update and improve the mining sector.
“We don’t want a situation, where it is when we talk about mining it conjures images of destruction and bad practices, rather learning from our experiences in Guyana, as well as elsewhere and partnering with reputable bodies,” Persaud said.
“We have started a number of initiatives that realise our objectives in the mining sector… we realise that human resources development is key and we have been working on developing the Guyana Mining School.”
Persaud said the authorities are working on a 10-year reduction strategy on the use of mercury in the mining sector.
“We don’t believe that we can afford to have an immediate and total ban, it is important when we look particularly at alluvial mining, but we believe and we have seen that we can use it in a very safe and environmentally friendly way,” he said.
Government has been engaging international agencies in order to develop a programme allowing for the gradual reduction of mercury.
WWF Country Manager, Patrick Williams said that the organisation is also engaging a number of stakeholders globally to examine the attempt to ban mercury globally.