Guyana Goldstrike Inc. (GYA.V) recorded first sales of 910 ounces of gold at the Marudi gold project, located in Guyana, South America.
The gold was mined and recovered by local small-scale alluvial or artisanal miners through a corporate social responsibility program and cooperative agreement established by the company. The artisanal miners have been given company-controlled access, with Guyana Goldstrike oversight, to work the alluvial areas (creeks, edges and new channels) of the property and the alluvial tailings that had been previously mined by previous artisanal miners.
A stipulation of the agreement is the requirement that the artisanal miners incorporate only those mining practices acceptable to the Environmental Protection Act of Guyana. Owing to their efforts, the company has successfully poured its first Dore gold bars and sold those bars to the Guyana Gold Board.
Under the terms of the agreement, the artisanal miners pay the company a 10% royalty on all gold mined from the property. In the five months ending March 31, the artisanal miners recovered about 910 oz of gold from mineralized material mined from the property’s alluvial areas and artisanal alluvial tailings. This resulted in 90.9 oz of gold paid to Guyana Goldstrike in royalties.
Guyana’s history has been inextricably linked to gold for the last 500 years. One of the earliest European explorers, Sir Walter Raleigh, believed Guyana contained the gilded city of El Dorado. Lust for gold drove colonization in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Small-scale miners became an important social force in the interior after significant quantities were found in the 1840s.
Diamonds were discovered in 1887, but many of the main deposits have been exhausted and extensive prospecting has failed to find large deposits. Guyana was one of the first bauxite (aluminum ore) exporters. One of the major reasons Guyana was forced to undergo structural adjustment was the nationalization of the bauxite industry in the 1970s. The U.S. responded by severely reducing aid, and Guyana defaulted on its foreign debt. The World Bank and the IMF promote large-scale gold mining and extractive industry.
Guyana is part of a larger geological structure known as the Guiana Shield, which encompasses French Guiana and Suriname, as well as parts of Venezuela and northern Brazil. Most mining occurs in the mineral-rich interior, covered in dense forests that impede infrastructure and mostly peopled with Amerindians.
Guyana has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, and most of the interior’s inhabitants depend on the natural environment for subsistence, so contamination is a serious threat to public health and welfare. Proponents of large-scale mining often claim it has fewer negative environmental, social, and cultural impacts than smaller-scale operations, but given the corruption and absence of government oversight and economic alternatives in the interior, large-scale mining threatens to exacerbate the harm smaller-scale operations inflict, by, for example, increasing violent competition over access to mineral deposits. Mining’s social, health, and environmental effects threaten Amerindians’ continued existence.
The company sold the gold for $1 266.45/oz for a net sale of $106 490, after smelting costs and a 5% royalty paid to the Guyana government. The gold was assayed at 97% purity.
The Marudi gold project, a permitted mining license comprising about 13 500 ha, is located 230 km from the town of Lethem in southern Guyana. The property has good infrastructure with all-season road access mainly through open savannah.
The Marudi property contains a historic noncompliant mineral resource estimate of 880 000 oz of gold in the hard rock bedrock. The estimate is derived from two main development sites at Mazoa Hill and Marudi North. There exists strong potential to significantly increase the hard rock ounces through further exploration in the open areas of the development sites.
The agreement with alluvial miners allows the company to generate sales from areas that generally fall outside the company’s primary exploration targets or mineralized areas of interest.