The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) says it is adopting a zero tolerance position against mining along the banks of rivers.
GGMC Acting Commissioner Newell Dennison said the regulatory agency remains “very stringent” against breaches and mining of buffer zones. Buffer zones are areas along the bank of a river where mining is prohibited.
“We want to certainly indicate to our miners that that should not be how they operate, and we are going to be coming after them with a ‘no tolerance approach’ where that continues to happen,” Dennison said, adding that the GGMC will be intensifying the monitoring of mining districts to curb this practice.
Dennison said there has been an increase in reports of mining along the river banks, and some of these activities have incurred breaches. He said the GGMC will impose restoration of damage on miners who are found in breach, once they are caught.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we’re not just going after you for mining, we want to go after you for restoring, reclaiming, so breaching of the buffer zone, mining of the buffer zone, anything that would be disturbing the environment or the banks of the river, we’re coming after you,” Dennison stated.
Buffer zones help to maintain the integrity of the course of the river, and prevent erosion which in turn reduces instances of turbidity.
“You want to maintain a rich vegetation cover along the banks so that you would preserve that particular environment,” Dennison said, adding that while there is increased awareness in the sector towards the need for safe and sustainable mining, but there are still those who violate the regulations.