GUYANA | Mercury-free mining resources promoted

September 18, 2018
GUYANA | Mercury-free mining resources promoted

Conservation International Guyana (CIG) will carry out actions aimed at the eradication of the use of mercury through the Global Environment Facility project - Global Opportunities for Long-term Development (GEF-GOLD).

Local efforts to increase effectiveness are the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Association of Gold and Diamond Miners of Guyana (GGDMA), the Geology and Mines Commission of Guyana (GGMC) and the National Council of Toshaos (CNT).

In that sense, the Director of Field and Implementation of the CIG, René Edwards, revealed that, together with the participation of the community, plans are being implemented to provide alternative mining equipment and insurance to the miners. Thus, it contributes with the majority of the production coming from the artisanal miners, and small miners (ASM). However, the extraction of gold represents a threat to natural capital due to its negative impacts on the ecosystem.

One of the fundamental objectives is to ensure that gold mining activities are only carried out in places where viable deposits are found and that more efficient methods are used to improve gold recovery. These methods will be used after a change to new mercury-free mining resources that the interested parties can soon provide to the sector.

"Miners need support, many of them are small-scale artisanal miners who do not have the money to invest or test these equipment without mercury, so the project will work with the private sector and (local stakeholders) to make sure we have a mining team. appropriate for the different types of geology in Guyana, "said Edwards.

To help with the elimination of mercury, a market approach has been proposed that will allow gold buyers to request products from the ASM that in turn will force the miners to comply with the environmental and health standards that the country expects to establish.

"If we look at this value chain, especially from the marketing side, we make sure that whoever buys the gold really sees the standards and verifies that it is produced responsibly wherever it is bought," Edwards explained.

In addition to this, CIG will practice a sustainable landscape approach to ensure that projects implemented in the main mining areas, such as southern Rupununi, Lower Potaro and Upper Potaro, are made for the benefit of all parties.


The extraction of gold from Guyana is a fundamental part of its economy. Only in 2016, gold mining sector contributed with approximately 11% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an avarage production of 712,707 ounces of the precious metal.

The projects are also governed by a rights-based approach that takes into account the participation of stakeholders, including indigenous communities, who will work together to design solutions for the country. It is expected to meet the overall goal of Guyana's commitments under the Minamata Convention signed in October 2013.