ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY MINING PROJECT MOVING AHEAD
Kester Morris Stabroek News March 1999
A Canadian team currently in Guyana for discussion on a landmark environmental co-operation project held meetings with several key stakeholders in the Guyanese mining industry at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel last Friday.
Prime Minister Sam Hinds was among those in the Guyanese team who met the Canadian experts at what was billed as the first meeting of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) of the Guyana Environmental Capacity Development (GEN-CAPD) Mining Project.
The meeting was attended by among others, Special Advisor to the President on Science, Technology and the Environment, Navin Chanderpal; Canadian high Commissioner, Dr. Alan Bowker; and Head of Aid attached to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Charles Boode.
It was explained at Friday's meeting that GEN-CAPD is a $375 million CIDO project aimed at developing (Guyanese) environmental expertise and technical and management capacity in several of the key institutions involved with the mining sector.
The PSA, charged with overseeing the sic-month project will, in addition to mining experts from Canada, consist of Guyanese representatives from the Guyana Geology and Mines commission (CGMC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA_ and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (CGDMA). This committee is intended to be a collaborative decision-making boy in the sense that it will not be dictated to by the more knowledgeable Canadian members whom it was noted, have made many of the same mistakes as regards the environment and mining that Guyana is currently making.
The starting point of this ambitious project will be to assess the existing regulatory framework and codes of practice and to launch a multi-stakeholder process involving government and mining industries (represented by the PSC) to recommend necessary modifications.
The country's regulatory framework is expected to benefit to the point where it is hoped it will promote the sustainable development of the country's mineral resources. A set of operating guidelines for the GGMC is also expected to be assembled buy the GEN_CAPD and the PSC.
The project's goals will be accomplished by a combination of the PSC's twice yearly meetings to discuss policy implementation and a series of training and demonstrative projects, which will introduce new technologies targeted mainly at small- and medium-sized mining ventures.
One of the project's most exciting aspects, according to Boode, is the project demonstration aspect of GENCAPD which could possibly lead to the substantial increase in gold production with minimal or less impact on the environment.