GGMC staff walks off job, mercury levels high

Workers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) main office on Friday walked off the job. The frustrated workers down their tools in protest of high mercury level in their blood as a result of the operations of the Guyana Gold Board. The GGB is currenlty housed in the same compound with the GGMC Upper Brickdam Georgetown, the GGB has been seeking lodging at the location for a number of years.

Recently the Ministry of Natural Resources assured the staff of GGMC that the problem would be fixed, but the workers felt that this is not the case.

A person’s normal mercury level should be around <10 ng/mL, higher than that should be treated by staying away from the environment. The GGMC workers when tested at a local laboratory on East Street, found that their levels were far more than is normal for a person who is not dealing with gold on a daily basis.

While the Ministry noted that the staff of GGMC eats too much fish, it has considered moving the lab from its current location. A technical team was appointed to look at the situation.

Several residents of Hadfield Street have also been complaining about the high mercury level in the atmosphere emanating from the GGB’s operations. For several years, the mercury abatement system at the GGB lab was suspected to not be functioning properly, as the lab staff’s mercury level are always high.


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