(CMC) – Guyana says it is considering the establishment of a refinery as part of the efforts to modernise the gold industry.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, said that representatives of a South African company will be in Guyana shortly, to conduct a feasibility study on the possibility of establishing the refinery.
Trotman said that for years, the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) has been using the old method of refining gold and believes that the time has come to revolutionise the gold industry.
“So, we are strongly looking at the possibility setting up a refinery, either through a public-private partnership or wholly through government.”
He said that the visit of the team from South America is being facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that the GGB is already in receipt of a number of other plans for the refinery’s establishment.
“We had looked at similar facilities in Suriname. We have received proposals from local business persons as well as far as Dubai, India, the US and Canada, so we are moving in the direction of modernising this industry,” Trotman said, adding that the time has come for the country to have its own refinery.
He said that even if Guyana cannot refine all of its gold; it must be in a position to refine a substantial amount.
Trotman said the GGB is also exploring the idea of producing commemorative coins and ingots which will be up for sale, “people could come and buy Guyanese gold as a Guyanese or if you are a citizen of Canada or the United States. It comes with a certificate and I believe this is where we are headed.”
For several years, Guyana has used the traditional method of smelting gold. This has, however becoming worrying. Only recently there was a spike in the level of mercury emission in the air at the GGB laboratory.