Based on reports of increased levels of mercury in waterways of interior regions, Government has made a further commitment to confront the issue, as Guyana will be partnering with South Africa to introduce mercury-free recovery methods in the gold mining sector as it seeks to enter commercial mining.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has said that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) would need to partner on the mercury-free mining initiative so as to ensure that the environment and people are protected.The South African Government has expressed a willingness to share its bleach gold recovery method as a cost-effective and equally efficient means of recovering gold. A delegation who recently visited Guyana plans to take a number of Guyanese miners to South Africa to observe the gold recovery system.Guyana is among eight countries which will partner with the Conservation International/Global Environmental Facility (CI/GEF) programme, with the aim of ensuring mercury-free mining worldwide.The urgent action is needed to protect millions of men, women and children who are exposed to toxic levels of mercury through gold production every year. This is the main contention of the backers of the new $180 million programme, in seeking to reform the Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining sector (ASGM).The programme – the global opportunities for the long-term development of the ASGM sector (GEF GOLD) – aims to reduce the use of mercury in artisanal gold mining, and introduce and facilitate access to mercury-free extraction methods, while at the same time working with Governments to formalise the sector, promoting miner rights, safety and their access to markets.In addition to Guyana, the programme spans several other countries including Burkina Faso, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, the Philippines and Peru.The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), are other partners in the programme.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said GGMC has been discussing the possibility of becoming a gold producer rather than being just a licencing and regulatory authority. This idea, if properly introduced, could help to increase profits for the company.Trotman related that Guyana may not be at that stage yet but could start with a mercury-free model, to demonstrate to the other miners not only how one can mine without mercury but also how they can mine without mercury and still be profitable.Guyana has been taking steps to eliminate the use of mercury in mining here. Several days ago, a meeting of a National Working Group (NWG) on the “Minamata Convention on Mercury” was convened at the Natural Resources Ministry’s Main Street offices in Georgetown.Guyana signed the Convention on Mercury on October 10, 2013, ratifying it on September 24, 2014. Guyana was also elected as one of the two Vice-Presidents from the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) to serve on the Bureau of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP 3).At the meeting, Policy Analyst at the Natural Resources Ministry, Mariscia Charles, said the Minamata Convention follows and builds on the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) conventions which came into force on August 16, 2017.This was the first global agreement on health and the environment for close to a decade. She reminded participants of Guyana’s participation in the plenary sessions which focused on freeing the Amazon from the impacts of mercury used in ASGM.In September 2017, President David Granger attended the inaugural Conference of Parties (COP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, where he affirmed Guyana’s position and committed to the elimination of mercury usage by 2027.
1 New Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat New Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat admits something has to change if he is to steer the Black Cats away from a relegation dogfight.The 67-year-old Dutchman was unveiled at press conference at the club’s Academy of Light training headquarters on Friday morning as he finalised preparations for his first Premier League game in charge at West Ham on Saturday.Advocaat, who inherited a team sitting just one point clear of the drop zone, said: “In principal, every thing you do in football is a challenge and you want to do as well as possible. But we are now in a situation where we are playing more or less at the bottom of the league, so something has to change.”However, the Dutchman, who arrived on Wearside after a spell as manager of the Serbia national team, admitted he is relishing the challenge of guiding a squad which faltered alarmingly during the latter weeks of predecessor Gus Poyet’s reign away from trouble.He took up the reins on Tuesday and has had three days to work with his players, although he revealed few of them were strangers to him.Advocaat said: “In Holland, we can see all the games in England – everything is on television, so I knew the squad, I knew the players, plus the fact that we have a great stadium and great fans.“With the support of them, we must do it. I have a good feeling about the squad after the last three days, so why not?”The Black Cats are without a win in six league games and seven in all competitions, a run which has plunged them into a second successive survival fight.Advocaat needs all the players he can get his hands on if he is to engineer an escape, and he could have at least one more to call upon this weekend after the club lifted its suspension of winger Adam Johnson as a police investigation into an allegation of sexual activity with a girl under 16 continues.However, Advocaat declined to reveal whether or not the 27-year-old, who had been training by himself after ban was imposed, will be included in the travelling party.He said: “What I always do, I pick the squad after the final session. We still have some injuries, we don’t know exactly who will join us.“Always after the last training, I will pick the squad so it’s the same for everybody.”