With mercury levels high in their systems and possible life threatening diseases, workers from the Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) downed their tools on Friday last.
As a result, the Ministry of Natural Resources in Tuesday afternoon suspended all burning of gold at the Guyana Gold Board Lab, Upper Brickdam. This ban on burning of raw gold at the entity is expected to last for some time if a new lab is to be built.
According to a statement from the Ministry on Tuesday the over 10,000 miners who sell gold to the entity will receive due notice as to where they will sell the precious metal.
The Ministry and the GGB noted that they will continue to look at the well being of the workers, a promise GGMC staff said was just words in the wind.
“The use of mercury negatively impacts the lives and environments wherever it is in use – whether in the Georgetown, or in hinterland communities, and must eradicated”, the Ministry noted via the statement.
One miner spoke to Guyana Daily News on Tuesday said that he od surprise at the sudden move by the Ministry and is calling for a very fast solution to the problem.
The miner noted that this will create hardship and loss to them becuase “when we sell our gold outside we does get robbed.”
For several years, the mercury abatement system at the GGB was suspected to not be working as employees of the entity’s mercury would usually be high.