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Iwokrama’s sanctuary under threat by illegal mining, logging

Iwokrama’s sanctuary under threat by illegal mining, logging

Guyana’s well-known conservation and protected area, Iwokrama continues to face ongoing challenges with illegal mining for gold.

On Friday, a release from the conservation body said that it has been faced with this challenge since April 2019 but the issue got measurably worse in 2020 as restrictions kicked in due to the pandemic.

“This witnessed a reduction in monitoring capacity, as such small dug pits escalated to felling of trees and use of small dredges to extract the gold hence creating huge gaps,” Iwokrama Centre said in a statement.

During the past week, monitoring and enforcement exercises were carried out in the Iwokrama Forest and buffer zone area, along the Siparuni River found several camps. A shop that continues to be in breach of the law by being located within or near the one Kilometer buffer zone area, on the other side of the Siparuni River remains present, Iwokrama said.

The camps were removed with some assistance as a Corps of Wardens under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyana Geology and Mines, Guyana Forestry Commission and Guyana Police Force sprung into action.

The Iwokrama Centre said that in the past, two persons found mining in the area were brought before the court for illegal mining as it said it plans to use the law against persons who continue to mine without permission.

Iwokrama Centre in its statement is reminding persons that mining is not allowed unless the Iwokrama Centre gives express written permission for any of these activities to be undertaken.

Increased monitoring will commence and Iwokrama will be “rigidly enforcing the prescribed penalties under the Iwokrama Act and other laws of Guyana to any person(s) found illegally operating in the Iwokrama Forest.”

The Centre noted that it will continue to offer a rewards for any information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of persons(s) involved in illegal activities in the Iwokrama Forest and it will be following up on information it received on specific mining operators within the Iwokrama Forest. It promises to fully publicized any prosecutions.