Guyana continues to be one of the largest mineral producers and exporters in South America. Regardless, the country has managed to keep deforestation levels on the low side over the years.
To date, mining remains one of the country’s main economic activities that provide jobs and income for some Guyanese. It is the Government’s aim that once carried out in a sustainable way, it will continue to provide jobs and income and support the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030.
According to the draft LCDS 2030 document, the strategy will prioritize measures that will support low-impact mining, by implementing mineral mapping, rehabilitating and restoring mined-out areas, and improving transparency in this sector.
Mineral mapping will be done in mining areas to show where exploitable deposits are located. The document states that by doing this, deforestation will be lessened. In order for mining to take place, overburden and vegetation are removed. Therefore, areas without deposits will not be cleared or destroyed. By doing so, not only will deforestation be prevented, but the building of roads to districts that are not exploitable will reduce, therefore reducing the need for labour and materials.
Over the years, it has been noticed that after mining is completed, the areas are damaged, vegetation and habitats are also destroyed, and animals either die or are displaced. Further, huge pits are left after exploitable deposits are mined, leading to erosion and flooding.
The new LCDS will cater for the rehabilitation and restoration of mined-out areas in Guyana. There are approximately 200,000 hectares of forest areas which will be catered for, according to the draft.
A Land Reclamation Project was established in 2014, which encouraged and promoted the reclamation of mined-out medium and small-scale areas. It is the discoveries from this project that will be used to direct decision making about land reforestation and reclamation.
To improve transparency, LCDS 2030 will make use of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is a global standard used to provide responsible management of natural resources. The reports will make known figures that are related to mineral productions and exploration activities. EITI reports will also establish clear and accountable management of Guyana’s natural resources, which will strengthen the government, increase trust, encourage and edify public debates.
With these strategies, LCDS 2030 aims to make Guyana a low carbon economy, by maintaining safe and effective mining that will conserve the forest, and continue to provide employment opportunities and economic benefits for all Guyanese people.