Puruni miners respond positively to Ministry of Natural Resources coordinated training on biodiversity friendly mining practices


MAZARUNI, Guyana: As part of its Mainstreaming Biodiversity in the Gold Mining Sector project, the Ministry of Natural Resources coordinated with the University of Guyana and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to deliver a training workshop on mining with the environment in mind.

The training workshop entitled ‘Support to Uptake of Biodiversity Friendly Practices by Miners’, took place on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Two Blessed Sisters Restaurant in Puruni, Region Seven, Cuyuni-Mazaruni. Over 39 miners attended the workshop.

Puruni Landing, Mazaruni Mining District 3, is home to a community of which mining is the major economic activity. Mining also supports other businesses in the community such as shops and hotels.

The workshop’s objectives were to create awareness and enhance the knowledge of Mines Officers and miners with respect to the impact of mining on biodiversity and the need for biodiversity conservation.

It aimed also to educate Mines Officers and miners on the ways in which biodiversity conservation might be integrated into sustainable mining.

The training sought to increase the awareness of the participants to the Mining Regulations and the Draft Codes of Practice and introduce them to the mass media products which were developed as part of the project.

Delivering the training were Ms. Denise Simmons, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Guyana and Ms. Heetasmin Singh, Lecturer of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Guyana.

Following a review of the day’s agenda by Ms. Simmons, Ms. Singh delivered a presentation on understanding biodiversity and the need for biodiversity conservation. Ms. Simmons then presented on mining, biodiversity and environmental impacts.

Following this session, the participants received a presentation which gave an overview of the Mining (Amendment) Regulations 2005, followed by an overview of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission’s Draft Codes of Practice for small and medium scaled miners.

Among the topics discussed were turbidity limits, settling ponds, disposal of petroleum products, responsibility for environmental damage, disposal of effluent, tailings dams, protected areas, safe use of mercury, contingency and response plans.

After a presentation of the mass media products such as jingles, infomercials and billboards, the miners engaged in discussion where they raised several issues many of which pertained to environmental stewardship and human health. Further, the miners called for an even hand in meting out penalties to errant miners, positing that while the small miners are penalised, larger operators seem to get away with committing similar offences.

As the Ministry seeks to continue its message of sustainable mining, a similar workshop is to be held in the mining town of Bartica on Sunday March 19, 2017.

March 14, 2017

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