In keeping with a commitment made by Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Raphael Trotman, during a discussion with miners’ representatives and others on September 7, 2017 at Cara Lodge, chairman of the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) GHK Lall, held a meeting yesterday September 14, 2017, with executives of the various mining associations operating under the umbrella body Miners United Movement. The purpose of the meeting was to reexamine the existing processing fee of $2,500 per ounce for gold sold to the GGB.
Present at yesterday’s meeting were, Mr. Terrence Adams and Mr. Andron Alphonso, President and Vice President, respectively of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GWMO), Ms. Urica Primus, President of the Guyana Womens Miners Organization (GWMO) and Mr. Renwick Solomon, Chairman, National Mining Syndicate (NMS).
Communications initiated by the Mr. Lall prior to the meeting laid the groundwork for thoughtful constructive exchanges on how to address the varied interests of the mining sector and miners on the one hand, and those of the GGB and Guyanese taxpayers on the other. It was a cordial and productive exchange at the conclusion of which, the following structure was agreed to by all the parties present:
- A processing fee of $1300 per ounce from 1 oz and up to and including 100 ounces.
- A processing fee of $1400 per ounce for every ounce starting from 101 ozs and for every additional ounce up to 200 ounces.
- Thereafter, a downward sliding scale of $1300 per ounce from 201 ounces to 300 ounces; and then $1200 per ounce for all additional ounces between 301 ounces to 500 ounces. There would be a ceiling or maximum of $400,000 for all sales up to 1,000 ounces.
- For sales greater than a thousand ounces, the processing fee would be $400 per ounce, for every ounce above a thousand ounces.
The GGB chairman pointed out that this new fee arrangement, which immediately replaces the current $2,500 per ounce fee, represent considerable compromise on the part of the minister and the GGB, especially in the face of increasingly expensive regulatory and operational requirements. He also noted that the new fee structure is a clear acknowledgement of the contributions of the mining sector to the Guyanese economy.
Mr. Alphonso, Vice President of the GDMA noted that, “We are thankful for the fruitful engagement with the Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board and the resulting compromise; this new fee structure, while much less burdensome to miners, will also go a long way in assisting the GGB to offset costs associated with its operations and the very vital regulatory role that it plays in the industry today”
Mr. Solomon, Chairman of the NMS, articulated that, “NMS has no objection to the agreed release; our engagement was fruitful, frank, and open. NMS welcomed the engagement, and is looking forward to continuing collaboration in matters of mutual concern.”
Chairman Lall, thanked the mining associations’ executives for working constructively with the Gold Board to assemble a reciprocally acceptable package that provides some immediate relief to both sides, even as ongoing efforts at fiscal prudence at the GGB are under consideration. The fee will only be charged at the GGB to assist in reducing its operational costs.
Finally, the miners associations committed to updating their members on this now official fee regime as well as the importance and benefits of executing transactions with the GGB. A similar education exercise is in the works at the GGB.