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Local agencies probing irregularities in gold movement

Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat
Even as several local agencies investigate whether gold from neighbouring Venezuela is making its way into Guyana, Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat is adamant that gold is leaving Guyana for Venezuela and Brazil, “there is no substantial evidence”  to suggest that gold is coming from Venezuela, the Minister Bharrat told the media, he said “there is enough evidence to say otherwise, that Guyana gold is leaving borders and going to Brazil and Venezuela.”
On Monday morning, during a brief interview, the Minister explained that several local agencies including the Guyana Gold Board and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission are investigating claims that gold smuggled from Venezuela is being mixed with gold mined in Guyana “there are complaints that the Royal Canadian Mint, as well as other buyers, there is the same report that gold from Venezuela is infiltrating the Guyana gold,” Minister Bharrat said.
The authorities are however, concerned about Guyana’s gold escaping through the largely unprotected borders. Much of this gold could be coming from illegal mining done by Guyanese and foreign nationals. Just recently, the joint services uncovered a tunnel mining operation in the New River Basin, on Monday too, Minister Bharrat confirmed that illegal mining and logging were detected in the Iwokrama. The Minister confirmed that one person was charged for illegal mining Iwokrama, a known conservation area.
At the time, Minister Bharrat could not estimate the loss to Guyana’s coffers as it relates to gold leaving the country undeclared. Gold declarations stood at 634,906 ounces at the end of 2019 compared to 616, 223 ounces declared in 2018.