The Guyana government is to open offices in the country’s interior, and later a refinery, to reduce gold smuggling and ensure miners’ safety.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud says offices will open at Port Kaituma in the northwest region near the border with Venezuela and in the western river town of Charity. Miners currently have to travel hundreds of miles to sell gold at the Guyana Gold Board offices in Georgetown or the nearby city of Bartica.
The announcement came against a backdrop of miners concerns about being robbed, assaulted and sometimes killed en route to these existing offices. Persaud also said that as much as 400,000 ounces (11million grams) of gold are being smuggled out of the country each year to neighbouring Suriname, where royalties and taxes are much lower. The minister also stated that government is moving to facilitate the establishment of a gold refinery, and a preliminary proposal from a local consortium is being aggressively pursued to ensure the refinery becomes a reality.
Persaud made these disclosures while addressing a press conference in observance of the 30th anniversary of the Guyana Gold Board. Chairman of the Board Dr Gobin Ganga said gold declaration for 2012 is expected to reach 370,000 ounces and that gold prices are expected to remain high over the next few years.