GUYANA – GGI begins underground exploration for gold


He said the EPA’s clearance gives the company up to 2,500 metres of underground exploration as well as test mining for 300,000 tons of ore

“We have started and have gone down a couple of hundred meters; maybe three or four hundred metres right now. Everything so far is going great, the rocks are cool, some people thought it would be hot, there is very little water, some people thought there would be a lot of water as we are very close to the Cuyuni River, none of that is true.”

Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said he was happy with the current progress at the company adding “this is historic for Guyana. We have had underground mining in Guyana before, I’m not saying this is the first, but certainly it is the only company doing it right now.

“I’m happy to see that issues and some challenges with GGMC and EPA have been resolved and the company has been able to start the exploratory aspect of the digging and hopefully things progressed and a full mining permit will be given by both the GGMC and EPA,” he added.

Aurora Gold Mines is one of the largest gold mines here with an estimated reserve of 6.54 million ounces of gold.

Meanwhile, Guyana, which has given an undertaking to reduce the level of mercury in mines by 2027 as part of its commitment to the Minamata Convention, has introduced new technologies to achieve the goal

Senior mineral processing engineer, Lloyd Bandoo, says the authorities are aware that small and medium scale miners who utilise sluice boxes for their operations, may find that upgrading to mercury-free equipment may prove too costly.

“We are not saying that you should stop using your sluice box, so we’re making efforts to show you how to optimise your sluice box so you get the most out of it and since you cannot eliminate mercury at this point, for reduction, we are looking at optimising the sluice boxes to get a better concentrate and reduce the amount of mercury you are using”

He said that this is not the only effort being made to move towards the ultimate goal of mercury-free mining.

As part of the mining and quarry conference that ends on Thursday, a panel discussion on finding more direct ways to curtail the use of mercury by miners will be held as the authorities seek to introduce new technology into the sector.

“What we are looking to do in our project and consultations with both mining associations and agencies such as Conservation International, is to search for ways to incorporate this equipment into existing operations, so you’re not going to just stop using your sluice box but we are finding a way to retrofit this equipment into your existing circuit” Bandoo explained.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. Guyana signed onto the treaty in 2013 and it was ratified in 2014.

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