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–    focus on miners’ awareness about their health and environmentIn an effort to promote environmental education and awareness among the major stakeholders in the mining sector, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Mining Association (GGDMA) took the initiative to sign a grant agreement. The document was signed on Wednesday last.According to a release from the WWF, the primary objective of the project is to raise awareness of the negative impacts of gold mining activities on the bio-physical environment while promoting best practices available for the sector.It was emphasised that legislation was necessary in view of the growing number of environmental defaulters who contribute to the contamination of rivers, creeks and other waterways, affecting various life forms.As a result of this, the laws strictly prohibit the use of mercury during the primary stages of mining operations such as in sluice boxes, hammer mills and ball mills; the discharge of amalgamation tailings into water bodies; the discharge of fluids in excess of 30 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units) or 100 TSS (total suspended solids) and the burning of amalgam in open air. It also prohibits settling ponds less than 20 metres away from rivers and other waterways.Under this law, all miners must submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) outlining measures undertaken to ensure environmental compliance and waste dumps must be away from surface water.Additionally, sites must be restored following the completion of mining activities. This includes: (i) ensuring that mining sites are chemically hazard-free; (ii) a reclamation plan must be completed prior to the commencement of mining; (iii) the site must be restored; (iv) Mining titles must be relinquished once all requirements are met, the release said.The law stipulates the establishment of an emergency-accident response in the event of tailing dam failures, chemical spills and other possible eventualities. And environmental monitoring must be done.“In the event that chemical limits are exceeded,Custom Bayern Munich Jerseys, all operations must cease until restoration has been completed.”Kaieteur News understands that despite the fact that these regulations became effective from January 1, 2007, miners have not yet fully developed the capacity to address the environmental issues effectively coupled with the lack of knowledge of the requirements.The aim of this project is to educate miners, communities and other stakeholders on various techniques to reduce negative environmental impacts, the requirements of the mining regulations, health and other social issues, among others.The GGDMA is currently engaged in hiring two environmental officers and setting up an Environmental Unit to assist the miners to address the new environmental requirements. This programme will also provide training for the officers and assist with the establishing the environmental unit at GGDMA along with the newly signed grant.The project is intended to reach out to Miners and Stakeholders in communities such as Potaro, Cuyuni, Mazaruni, Bartica, Tamakay, Omai, Port Kaituma, Arakaka, Aranka, Puruni, Mocha, Ann’s Grove, Wismar, and Number 58 Miles Mabura.WWF says that an estimated 75,000 jobs offered in Guyana are directly and indirectly created from gold mining activities, and as such,Manchester United Jerseys, they are looking forward to being associated with the organization.According to the WWF, the GGDMA has been contributing to the social advancement of mining communities with respect to housing,Custom Juventus Jerseys, education, health and other aspects of the livelihood of the people of Guyana over the past few years.In addition, immense tributes are paid to Amerindian communities, in particular, for the use of their reserves by the miners.“The road network is improved, airstrips are opened, businesses and employment opportunities are created as the local service sector is developed. On the other hand, however,Custom Barcelona Jerseys, sedimentation of streams due to inappropriate tailings management and social interaction between miners and local communities contribute to a variety of health issues,Andrea Barzagli Jersey, hardships and conflicts with local communities.”These issues,Cheap Juventus Jersey, including the open air burning of mercury amalgam, discarding of amalgamation tailings and mining and processing of overburden soil, can release mercury into the environment to become methylated under ideal conditions to be taken up by the biota and bioaccumulation.The WWF says that in this area of “crisis” for the GGDMA they are dedicated to assisting in order create a more environmentally-friendly working area for the miners and persons who live in these mining areas, as health and safety measures are usually disregarded by miners, contributing to fatal accidents.WWF disclosed that having recognized the direct and indirect threats posed to miners and their communities, the GGDMA had sought financial and technical assistance from WWF to ensure that its members, other miners and relevant stakeholders are well informed and have knowledge of appropriate solutions to problems posed by gold mining activities.“Over the past eleven years, WWF Guianas has been providing financial and technical support to the mining sector in Guyana to address a number of the challenges the sector experiences. This assistance includes: grants to government agencies to improve management of the sector, training to the educational institutions and collaborative work with other partners,” the WWF pointed out. (Rehana Ashley Ahamad)
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