– allows for greater efficiency and transparency

The Board of Directors of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), responding to the guidance of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has identified several key areas to be addressed in the mining sector, following concerns raised by miners and other stakeholders. This was a commitment echoed by the Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat and the new Chairman of the GGMC Board of Directors, Mr. Jimmy Reece at the inaugural meeting, that is to embrace technology to increase efficiency and transparency in GGMC’s operations.

Currently, every dredge or specified machinery must have the approval of the Commissioner as stated in the amended Regulations 2012, under regulation 149 (3) which states that it shall not be lawful to any tributor or person who holds a license or dredge issued under part XXI A of these regulations to be or to work or to cause the said dredge to be or to work on any claim or mining permit area without first having obtain the written permission of the Commissioner to have the said dredge work on that claim or mining permit area.”

In other words, each time a dredge moves it must have the approval of the Commissioner in writing before it can commence operation. The challenge being the cycle time for the issuance of the permission in writing.

The genesis of the permission to operate was created to protect both the land holder and the dredge owner’s interest, avoid illegal mining and mineral illegally obtained. The Board of Directors within its first week met with the GGMC management team to strategically review the Permission to Operate Dredge or Specified Machinery process flow. Initially, the documents needed with the application form was examined and determined that more than 90% of the accompanying documents on the forms were issued by the Commission and therefore already in its domain. This meant that the process was repetitive and onerous to miners.

Additionally, the Chairman, Mr. Reece, along with other members representing the two main mining associations; the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) represented by Ms. Urica Primus and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) represented by Mr. Dabria Marcus along with GGMC’s key process owners Mines Manager (Ag.) Mr. Krishna Ramdass and ICT Manager (Ag.) Mr. Garfield Pearson reviewed and revised the process. This resulted in the elimination of the submission of unnecessary documents, which were already in the domain of the Commission. The operational flow diagram for this process was then reviewed and several unnecessary work stations removed and the process automated as much as possible. Thus, incorporating technology to enable efficiency, accountability and transparency. The technical review of proposals and the dynamics of the size of the operation warrant reviews prior to the approval, this process was given a cycle time of three (3) days for dredges smaller than a 10 inch and five (5) days for greater suction diameters.

Further, the actualisation of a process that allows the miners to operate unhindered was realised by incorporating technology, strategic planning and strategic human resource management. As of this week, the application process allows and caters for both online and walk in application platforms. The online platform can be accessed at: https://eservices.ggmc.gov.gy/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2F

For walk-in customers, immediately after submitting all necessary forms et cetera and this is entered into the system, a reference number and date will be automatically generated and issued to miners. For online applications, upon the submission of the relevant form, and barring any incorrect information on the form, it would be reviewed and inputted into the system and a reference number/date generated and communicated to the applicant.

The reference number will allow the miner to commence operations and work unchallenged in the first instance. The miner will be allowed to present the reference number to GGMC’s field staff up until the 3rd or 5th day after the application was made, whichever is the applicable timeframe for the respective miners’ application. After the expiry of this period, the miner and GGMC would be aware whether his application for a Permission to Operate Dredge or Specified Machinery, was successful and the next steps to be taken thereafter.

Notwithstanding the above, a similar review and revision process will be conducted for other processes of the GGMC, to integrate as best as possible, appropriate technologies that would enhance the services provided to the mining sector.