Georgetown, GINA, February 18, 2013
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud today inspected a piece of technology that could assist greatly in the process of phasing out the use of mercury in mining operations.
The technology is known as a ‘screening plant’, and was procured by Mulgravian Ventures (Guyana) Inc., a Canadian exploration company, whose operations are located in the North West District.
The company’s Chief Operations Officer Vern Matkovich said that this technology, which was purchased to aid their own exploration activities, offers a very efficient way to gold recovering and eliminates the use of mercury.
This particular technology was first developed in New Zealand, but it can be constructed anywhere. The cost varies depending on the size.
The Minister commended the company for the initiative and fully endorsed by his Ministry. He said that, “we want to try as much as possible to introduce mercury free technology.”
The use of mercury is not banned in Guyana, but Government aims to gradually phase out its use.
Minister Persaud said that Government feels strongly and it has been proven elsewhere, that greater efficiency in recovery can be derived from mercury-free operations. Moreover, such operations will have far less environmental implications.
“From the Ministry, the Government and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, we have to look for what is cost effective, what is good for the environment, and what makes for good mining and business sense,” the Minister said.
The Ministry has also been looking in the direction of incentives for miners who invest in mercury-free technology. In this regard, discussions were held with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and with individual miners.
He added that the availability of this technology will take the mining industry beyond certain challenges that exist.
Government recognises the environmental and human health risks of mercury and pollution to the environment and is committed to place continuous focus on technical and financial resources in the gold mining sector in order to address the issues surrounding its use.