Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arapaima fishing permit could generate $20-23M for Annai

GUYANA - Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud on Tuesday issued an arapaima fishing permit to Annai Village to allow Amerindian communities in the area to sustainably harvest the fish by February.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the permit was given to Toshao of the North Rupununi Village, Michael Williams, which will allow communities within the area to harvest 101 of the large fish by February 15, 2010. The area covered by the permit includes 16 villages and 5,000 residents; therefore each community could get more than $1M each. On presenting the permit to Williams, Persaud noted that with prices for the fish ranging from $600 to $1,000 per pound and with an adult arapaima weighing around 200 pounds, the permit could generate as much as $20-23M which can be invested to address the critical needs of the communities.

GINA said the permit was issued under the Arapaima Management Plan, which was officially launched on April 20, 2007. It was designed with various objectives including increasing the local Arapaima population, improving fishing income and advancing local institutions. The Plan also includes population counts, sharing an annual harvestable quota and has a guiding philosophy to conserve an economically important natural resource. Management rules also specify that arapaimas should not be harvested unless the procedure is conducted within the confines of the Plan, with the two most important rules stipulating that only adults are harvested and that the harvesting is done only during the non-reproductive cycle.

The minister encouraged Williams to let the communities utilize the funds in a manner similar to that which the presidential grants are used. Persaud also said his ministry will look at working with the Brazilian business community at processing the fish to add value and therefore, increase the income that can be obtained from the permit in the future.

In February and March of this year, a population count showed there were 3,062 arapaimas which measured one metre or more of which 1,617 were juveniles and 1,445 adults. The permit will expire before the next arapaima spawning season commences in March 2010. It takes about six years for an arapaima to mature to adulthood.

Source: Stabroek News

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dr. Desrey Fox of the Akawaio Tribal Nation passes on

Georgetown, Guyana (UCTP Taino News) - Dr. Desrey Fox, 54, passed away this morning at the Georgetown Public Hospital in Guyana. Dr. Fox, a member of the Akawaio Tribal Nation was a Minister in the Guyana Government’s Ministry of Education. Local reports indicate that she sustained back and head injuries in a tragic auto accident on Tuesday evening. Her grandson was also injured in the accident and remains in the hospital’s pediatric ward.

Read the full story at UCTP Taino News

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Guyanese Indigenous Organization Changes Leadership

Georgetown, Guyana (UCTP Taino News) – The Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) has changed its leadership recently and is now being run by an Interim Executive Committee. The new Committee office-bearers include Dr. George Norton (Chief), Mary Valenzuela (Deputy Chief), Colin Klautky (Public Relations Officer), Esther Robinson (Secretary), Gracene Rosheuvel (Asst. Secretary), and Sheffield Forero (Treasurer). The Committee will remain in place until the GOIP Annual General Assembly schedule to be held in July 2010. GOIP works to facilitate the development of Indigenous Peoples in Guyana through institutes and by promoting the recognition of the internationally recognized rights and interests through partnership with other NGO’s, stakeholders and agencies.

UCTPTN 12.10.2009

Minister Fox still in hospital

GUYANA - Desrey Fox, Minister within the Ministry of Education who was injured in a three-vehicle collision on Tuesday remains a patient of the High Dependency Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Family members yesterday declined to speak to this newspaper on the minister’s condition.

The minister’s grandchild, two-year-old Carlos Fox was also injured in the accident.
The accident occurred at the junction of J B Singh Road and Thomas Lands just in front the army base some time before 6:00 on Tuesday evening; and involved the Minister’s vehicle, an ambulance and a taxi.

Source: Stabroek News

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Study sees limited impact from Romanex gold project on villages

GUYANA - Direct impacts on individuals in indigenous villages surrounding the proposed Romanex gold-mining project at Marudi, Region Nine would be limited but there are potential indirect impacts that create social risks.

This is according to the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) draft report on the project.

The report- on the key socio-economic findings and issues/concerns related to the project noted that there are few communities located in close proximity to the proposed mine and direct impacts on individuals in indigenous villages would be limited. However there would be potential indirect impacts that create social risks due to the project such as possible influx in the remote areas due to upgrading of the access road from Aishalton to Marudi, it says.

The ESIA has been submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the agency is now inviting the public to comment on it before a decision is made on whether to grant or deny an environmental permit. In an advertisement in the Guyana Chronicle yesterday, the EPA said that the public has 60 days from the time of publication of the notice to make written submissions on the project to the Agency.

Romanex Guyana Exploration Limited is seeking to undertake alluvial gold mining at Marudi Mountain. The large-scale project will entail the excavation of mineralized gravel, the establishment of a mineral processing plant for the recovery of gold and the construction of supporting facilities, buildings and road. No chemicals will be used and the project will serve as a demonstration of non-chemical recovery of gold from placer deposits, according to the Project Summary. The proposed mine is 155 kilometres (Km) from Lethem and 28 km from Aishalton. Karaudarnau, the closest community to the mine, is linked to the area by a trail and is 20.5km away.


The draft ESIA says that a socio-economic baseline study was undertaken to create a profile of the communities in and around the project area. It noted that there are few communities located in close proximity to the project. The report says that the development of the mine and potential employment opportunities may attract people to the site for work. It stated that the operation of the mine may restrict access to the area for hunting and fishing and this may result in loss of revenue/livelihood for the members of the communities who use these areas. “These impacts will be mitigated by working with indigenous communities to minimize the impacts. The operations will create employment opportunities for residents of the area. The project will create a demand for skilled labor. The project may therefore result in people in the communities acquiring new skills”, it goes on to say.

It was noted that the commencement of construction activities at the site may attract local people who sell goods and services to the workers, including prostitutes. “Social interaction with other groups is also likely to bring about an increase in alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution and crime”, it says. The report noted that the influx of people could potentially increase pressures on existing resources in the area. It noted that the site is in a remote area which lacks resources and infrastructure and increases in population will pressurize the limited resources such as land, water, forest use and the current goods and services in the area. In addition, uncontrolled access to the area may create security issues and result in increased crime and indirect impacts on communities in proximity to the mine site, it says.

Uncontrolled influx

It further noted that the uncontrolled influx of people from outside could possibly create health risks to the Romanex employees and vice versa. This may be manifested in the form of increased transmission of contagious and other diseases. Influx of sex workers often leads to a rise in HIV and other STDs. The circulation of money from wages and salaries would sustain all of the workers’ leisure activities. This may increase the demand for alcohol, drugs and sexual services especially for those migrant and expatriate workers. In the mid-term this may bring about an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, the report states adding that “these are moderate impacts (high severity, low likelihood)”. However, it noted that the impacts will be mitigated by working with the village councils in the area to control access to the mine site as well as the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. Additionally according to the report, Romanex will incorporate into their employment contract a stipulation that dismissal will result for employees who patronize service providers. The mitigation measures will result in minor impacts (low severity, low likelihood), the report says.

Meantime, the potential impacts related to construction activities at the mine site and to mining operations include potential impacts to the atmosphere, aquatic and terrestrial resources and to human, socio-economic and cultural resources, the document states. It says that potential impacts to soil could result from widening of the access road from Aishalton to Marudi and from vegetation clearance of the creek flats to be mined and excavation for creek diversions.

“The likelihood of soil erosion and sedimentation will be minimized or avoided by the implementation of the Best Management Practices (BMP). The movement of heavy equipment during construction and mining may impact soil resources by causing rutting and compaction of susceptible soils. The impacts to the soil resources are expected to be minor (low severity, low likelihood). Topsoil mixing could potentially occur during the project execution. BMP implemented during construction and operation will result in minor impacts”, the Executive Summary of the ESIA states.

It stated that construction works will result in emissions of fugitive dust and products of combustion. Impacts to air quality could be moderate. These impacts will be mitigated by scheduling land clearing activities to less windy days, limiting vehicle speed during construction to a maximum 30 km/hr and employing dust suppression technique. Analyses indicated very minor changes in air quality resulting from equipment emissions, the ESIA report says.

Carbon dioxide

According to the document, clearing of tropical forest will result in approximately 1750 and 2600 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year no longer being sequestered by the forest. The project will also generate approximately 5200 tonnes of CO2 each year. It says that approximately 217 hectares of tropical forest will be cleared for the mines, widened roadway and related facilities. “This will result in a loss of approximately US$8391 per year based on the 15 million hectares being able to annually generate US$580 million”, the document states. It noted that the entire value of this would not be restored by reclamation of the mined out areas since the zone includes areas cleared for the Aishalton to Marudi access road upgrade. “The impacts of the project on the LCDS (Low Carbon Development Strategy) are consequently minor (low likelihood, low severity). No mitigation is necessary”, the document states. It had noted that the project will entail progressive reclamation of areas cleared for mining thus the project impacts on forest resources will consequently be carbon neutral.


Meantime, the ESIA report states that removal of the surficial soils will result in insignificant impacts on the geology of the area. An erosion and sediment control plan will mitigate potential impacts to water quality from erosion. It states that the potential for accidentals spills of fuels, oils and grease and the associated contamination of surface waters will be minimized by implementation of a Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan.

On the roadway from Lethem to Aishalton, it stated that the project will not result in significant increases in the level of traffic on the Lethem to Aishalton road and the upgraded road from Lethem to Aishalton would impact positively on the social sectors particularly in health and education.

According to the ESIA report, the project will introduce chemical free technology to Guyana’s gold mining industry and will serve as a demonstration project for application elsewhere.

It stated that an Environmental Management Plan was developed to mitigate the potential negative impacts and risks and to enhance the potential positive impacts of the proposed action. Environmental management measures address the environmental impacts and risks to both the physical and socio-cultural environments. A monitoring programme has been developed for the plant and this will provide data which would serve as the basis to determine the environmental performance of the operation. “The facility will be monitored to confirm its adherence to sound environmental management practices and contractually established operational standards. Monitoring will be conducted during the construction and operation phases of the project”, the report states.

Source: Stabroek News