19 months laterA 19-month standoff between miners and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has finally been resolved with several mining blocks being earmarked for miners in the Marudi area in Region 9.Some of the blocks earmarked will be allotted to the Rupununi Miners’ Association, while another set will be allocated to the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO), for its members who are operating in Mining District 6.Minister Trotman and team from GGMC meeting with Marshall Mintz of Romanex Guyana Exploration in Marudi (Filed photo)The new lands assigned to the miners are adjacent to the Romanex Concession.This move by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRE) has come after small scale miners were mandated to vacate mining lands on Marudi Mountain that were licensed to the Romanex Guyana Exploration Limited. The controversy was sparked when the company sought the removal of the miners from the area in order to conduct an Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) before beginning any large-scale mining.Natural Resources Minister Rafael Trotman had committed to working collaboratively with the GGMC in order to find a long-term solution that would allow the miners to have their own concessions. The MNRE emphasizes the need for prospecting before the commencement of mining, since this can be cost-effective. The MNRE also stresses the importance of proper mining practices and the need for miners to be cognizant of the wellbeing of residents of surrounding communities.Minister Trotman had, in April 2016, intervened in a standoff between small scale miners from the Marudi Mountain area, representatives of Indigenous communities, and Romanex Guyana Exploration Limited. The miners and Indigenous residents had held a series of protests and had refused to vacate the mining area.The facilitation of a mediation process was initiated with the help of Major-General (retired) Joe Singh. This had given rise to the signing of the ‘Mediation of the Marudi Mountain Mining Dispute Agreement’.Minister Trotman has said that, during the second week of February, he plans to have a consultation with the relevant stakeholders, including representatives of the South Rupununi Indigenous communities, to receive feedback with hopes of guiding the process forward.