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Rentier nation : landlordism, patronage and power in Guyana’s gold mining sector Bulkan, Janette; Palmer, John Jun 15, 2016

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Original articleaolumKeywords:GuyanaGold miningConcessionsRentier practicesGovernanceminal mofexpe pcontinued capture of the excess rent from gold sales by rentierswithout commensurate responsibility forlated that follproperte sugprescriptions forontains a generalntext of Guyana’sor the rights ofrecent literatureining administra-for eligibility forIn Section 5 weThe Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689Contents lists available at ScienceDirectThe Extractive Indujournal homepage: www.eassess the requirements for obtaining and retaining concessions inreform contained in the reports of consultants and others isdirectly related to regulatory capture (Dal Bó, 2006).1 This reviewof tenure arrangements in the goldmining sector complements ourresearch into rentier practices in the forestry sector and theconcentration into the hands of a few loggers of both loggingconcessions and the log trade (Bulkan, 2014a;[324_TD$DIFF] Bulkan and Palmer,2008; Palmer and Bulkan, 2010).This article draws on the data contained in a Management andSystems Review of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission(GGMC) commissioned by Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resourcesbriefly some of the social and economic consequelevel crony corruption and lay out some policysectoral reform.This article is organized as follows. Section 2 coverview of the geopolitical and institutional copublic lands, including the legal safeguards fIndigenous Peoples. In Section 3 we briefly reviewon mining issues. In Section 4, we summarize mtion, law and policy, including the main criterialarge-, medium- and small-scale concessions.holdings and ‘landlordism’ of Stateweak administration of the sector. Wtion for the minimal uptake of re1. IntroductionThis article examines two inter-remining sector: the consequences th* Corresponding author.E-mail addresses: janette.bulkan@ubc.cajrpalmer2005@waitrose.com (J. Palmer).1 Regulatory capture occurs when a gosupposed to be acting in the public interinterests of the existing incumbents in thehttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2016.05.0012214-790X/© 2016 The Author(s). Publishedcommen(J. Bulkanvernmentest becomeindustry tby Elsevierthem to remedy the environmental degradation. Evidence of financial losses to the State from the rentingof concessions and the smuggling of gold is presented. The legal protections of Indigenous Peoples are notenforced. The legal protections of mining workers are inadequate. We recommend: making the mininglicence holder legally responsible for ensuring compliance with all Regulations on every concession; theimplementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to safeguard Indigenous rights in both titledand customary territories; the capture of excess rent from gold sales for a sovereignwealth fund; and fulltransparency so as to end insider trading in concessions.© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-NDlicense (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).emes in Guyana’s goldow from concentratedy and from the State’sgest that one explana-dations for sectoraland the Environment (MNRE) in 2014 and led byGrantleyWalrond,a former GGMC Commissioner (Walrond et al., 2015). The Reviewwas leaked to the Press which highlighted some of its findings(Stabroek News, 2015, 7 April). The disclosures led to a full-page adhominem attack on the consultants by the GGMC in the form of apaid advertisement (Kaieteur News, 2015,10 April). However, noneof the Review’s findings was refuted then or later. We examinences of the high-Rentier nation: Landlordism, patronagemining sectorJanette Bulkana,*, [342_TD$DIFF]John PalmerbaDepartment of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Cb Forest Management Trust, Bozeman, MT, USAA R T I C L E I N F OArticle history:Received 21 October 2015Received in revised form 7 May 2016Accepted 9 May 2016Available online 15 June 2016A B S T R A C TThe consequences are exaallow access to internationthe acquisition of over 75%of nationals. LandlordismState’s failure to modify th),regulatory agency which iss dominated by the vestedhat it oversees.Ltd. This is an open access articlend power in Guyana’s goldbia, 2021-2424, Main Mall Vancouver, B.C. V6 [341_TD$DIFF] 1Z4, Canadaed of the revision of Guyana's Mining Act in 1989 that was intended toining companies while safeguarding national interests. One outcomewassmall-scale and over 40% of medium-scale concessions by a small numberanded following the spike in the international gold price from 2006. Theoorly construed mining law, and to enforce the Regulations, enables thestries and Societyl sev ier .com/ locate /ex islawand in practice. Section 6 tracks the growth in number and areaof concession licences over time and Section 7 assesses theevidence relating to concession administration. Section 8 consid-ers some of the charges of corruption levelled at concessionprocedures and practices. In Section 9, we discuss the evidence oflandlordism and State support of or acquiescence in the status quo.under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).Mining is regulated under the Mining Act that was revised in1989 in a period of IMF-supervised reform of a failing State-controlled public sector. In his assessment of the ‘processes ofenclosure’ that sought to link the Guyanese belowgroundresources to international investment capital and metropolitancentres of gold mining, Gavin Bridge noted the global trendJ. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689 677In Section 10 we examine the data in the public domain pertainingto gold exports, internal declarations and the contribution of goldmining to GDP during 1990–2014. In Section 11 we present anddiscuss three examples of financial losses to the State from theillegalities in the sector. Section 12 concludes with policyrecommendations for reform.2. General overview of Guyana’s geopolitical and institutionalcontextGold and diamond mining are carried out in Guyana’shinterland that comprises 95 per cent of its land area (GLSC,2013, p. 21). Over 80 per cent of the country’s land area are publiclands administered by the State and divided into three categories:State Forests (60 per cent), State Lands (23 per cent) and ProtectedAreas (5 per cent), each administered by a semi-autonomouscommission (Guyana Forestry Commission and INDUFOR, 2013, p.5). A Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MNRE)was created in 2012 to oversee the five natural resourcescommissions (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GuyanaForestry Commission (GFC), Guyana Geology and Mines Commis-sion (GGMC), Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) andthe Protected Areas Commission). The commissions combineregulatory and law-enforcement functions; each has the authorityto receive area fees and in the case of the Forestry and MiningCommissions, to receive royalties and to levy penalties. Six MiningDistricts are overlaid on State Forests (and some State Lands) andadministered by the GGMC.Mineral exploration and mining concessions overlap with StateForest Exploratory Permits and logging concessions issued by theGFC on public lands. On paper the State’s territorial monopolysuggests that integrated land use planning (ILUP) to rationalizespatial and temporal allocations to natural resources extractionwould be feasible via inter-agency collaboration. In practice,however, ILUPwas consistently ignored in favour ofMinisterial andCabinet discretionary practices. An itemization of the widediscretionary powers accorded to the Minister in the Mining Act(cap. 65:01 of 1989) covers 15 pages of Walrond et al.’s report(2015, Appendix A, p. 1–16).In the aftermath of the first free-and-fair national elections in1992 there were a number of donor-funded projects aimed atoperationalizing ILUP. One notable project was the ‘GuyanaIntegrated Natural Resources Information Service’ (GINRIS) proj-ect, set up with German government funding in 1994 forGeographical Information Systems (GIS) equipment and trainingof staff of the land commissions with the intention to implementthe national policy favouring ILUP. A second project was the CarterCenter-funded National Development Strategy (NDS), whosechapter on Mining remains relevant in 2016 (Government ofGuyana, 1996 [343_TD$DIFF]a,b, 2000). The ruling Peoples Progressive Party (PPP,1992–2015) disregarded both GINRIS and the NDS. The former wasdismantled when German aid ended after a pilot ILUP exercisewastested successfully in (administrative) Region 10 in 1997.After its formation in 2012, the Ministry of Natural Resourcesand the Environment (MNRE) commissioned an external consul-tancy firm to draft its Strategic Plan (Strategic EnvironmentalAdvice, 2013). In tandem, a second consulting firm, HTSPE,developed a new version of a national land use plan (GLSC,2013). However up to the time a new government was declared inMay 2015, two years later, no action was taken to revive a nationalILUP process to rationalize overlapping land uses on public lands.Consequently the natural resources Commissions continued toissue separate concessions on the same land area, using separateGIS systems software and with little coordination at headquartersor in the field.towards expansion of mining access without a commensurateincrease in State regulation:‘In the ten year period beginning in 1985, over ninety statesadopted new mining laws or revised existing legal codes in aneffort to promote foreign investment in their mining sector. Thepromulgation of new Mining Codes was frequently part of abroader package of neoliberal administrative and legal reforms.Their combined effect was to open up new opportunities for theinternational mining industry in areas that were formerly eitherclosed de jure because of political restrictions, or closed de factosince political-economic riskwas sufficiently high to deter prudentinvestment’ (2007, p. 75).Themineral-rich areas are coincident with the customary landsof Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples, referred to as ‘Amerindians’ sinceat least the Crown Land Ordinances and Regulations from 1861.2Amerindians number around 80,000 and are the majoritypopulations of the hinterland. 97 of the approximately 138Amerindian communities hold communal legal title only toaboveground resources on 14 per cent of national territory throughthe Amerindian Acts of 1976 and 2006. The legal and equitableadequacies of the land titling and demarcation processes forAmerindians are frequently disputed (Dooley and Griffiths, 2014;APA, 2015). For example, Amerindian property rights are burdenedby the State’s reservation of the right to issue mining concessionson ‘any part of Village lands; any land contiguous with Villagelands; or any rivers, creeks or waterways which pass throughVillage land or any lands contiguous with Village lands’ (Section 53(a–c)) provided that ‘the Guyana Geology and Mines Commissionshall first (i) notify the Village and (ii) satisfy itself that the impactof mining on the Villagewill not be harmful’ (Amerindian Act 2006,Section 53(i–ii)).Gold mining on communally titled Amerindian Village Land(AVL) is regulated under Sections 48–53 of the Amerindian Act2006. Any small or medium scale mining activities require ‘goodfaith’ negotiations with the Village Council (Section 48(1)(e)), and‘the consent of at least two-thirds of those present and entitled tovote at a Village general meeting’ (Section 48(1)(g)). If a miningagreement is reached, ‘the miner, his employees and agents shallcomply with the rules made by the Village Council’ (Sections 14(1)and 49(2)(e)). Thus, although the GGMC can issue miningconcessions over titled AVLs, a Village can veto small- andmedium-scale concessions (Section 48). No such veto is allowedto owners of other private property through Section 7 of theMiningAct 1989. In practice, mining takes place in and around AVLs anduntitled communities, with or without the consent and participa-tion of the Amerindians themselves (Bulkan, 2014b; Bulkan, inPress). GINRIS exercises in the 1990s showed that a majority ofState Forests, State Lands and proposed Protected Areas overlappedwith the claimed customary lands of Indigenous Peoples(confirmed by the former GTZ project manager, pers comm2006; Colchester et al., 2002; map on page 105). A program ofAmerindian CommunityMine Rangerswas instituted as part of theGGMC’s field monitoring. Walrond et al. reported that there were2 The terms ‘African’, ‘Amerindian’, ‘East Indian’, and ‘Mixed’ are both the legalterms used in the decennial censuses and the self-ascriptions with widest socialacceptance. In the main the nine surviving Indigenous Peoples of Guyana use thesame term ‘Amerindian’ to describe their generic ethnic grouping.11 Rangers in total and who alleged that their recommendationsfor action were ignored by the GGMC (2015, p. 44).The Mining Regulations associated with the Mining Acts since1931 were concerned with keeping waterways open for navigation(Regulation 57 and State Lands Act, Section 22) and water sources678 J. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689clean for drinking (Regulation 108). Not until the EnvironmentalProtection Act 1996 was there a legal concern about negativeenvironmental impacts, but even then only in general terms(section 11 and schedule 4, item 9). Specifics for environmentalcontrols on mining were introduced in the Mining Regulations2005 but the website of the MNRE was still happy to displaypictures in 2014 of chains of flooded abandoned mining pits withno rehabilitation of any kind, a reflection of the general disregardfor restoration of devastated areas. Even after the Omai Gold MineLtd. disaster in 1995 when 1.2 billion litres of cyanide slurry spilledinto the Essequibo River, astonishingly the Government ‘allowed[the company] to forgomandated land reclamation’ (Lowe, 2014, p.10).The two largest donor-funded environmental projects targetedat the gold mining sector were Canada’s CIDA GENCAPD project(1998–2005) and WWF Guianas Program projects including its‘Goldmining Pollution Abatement Project’ (2008–2016). Neitherbilateral donors nor the Big International NGOs (BINGOs) withlong-term programmes in Guyana – WWF and ConservationInternational – investigated the practices that enabled opaqueconcession allocations, concentrated concession holdings andlandlordism. Their reports sidestep issues of governance andcorruption but recount no success stories or even indicators ofprogress (CI et al., 2013; Lowe, 2006, 2013, 2014).3. Literature reviewPublished accounts of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)can be grouped into three general categories: the first ethno-graphic and place-based, the second from rights-based and legalperspectives and the third more focused on national environmen-tal law and policy and their (non)implementation. In the firstcategory are the first-person accounts of opportunistic AmerindianASM included in a collection by Forte3 andMelville (1989). Articleson mining and the Karinya/Carib (Forte, 1990, 1999; Whiteman,2004) and on Amerindians in general (Forte 1996, 1997, 1998)detail the upheavals that followed for Amerindian societies,territories and economies in the wake of ‘gold shouts’.4 Ethno-graphic descriptions of the complex relationships among pork-knockers,5 Amerindian gold and diamond miners and Braziliangarimpeiros (miners) in the Pakaraima mountains homeland of thePatamona Amerindians during the years 1993-4 and 1997 arerecorded in Roopnaraine’s writings (1995, 1996, 1996/7; Trotz andRoopnaraine, 2009). Roopnaraine also detailed the distinct rolesand ‘interests’ represented in mining camps.The second category of literature focus onmining on Indigenouscustomary lands and is written from human rights and legalperspectives. These include the publications of the AmerindianPeoples Association (APA), the leading Amerindian NGO, and theirpartners (Colchester 1997; Colchester et al., 2002). Bulkan (2009,2011, 2012, 2014a,b,c) and Harvard Law School (2007) examinethese issues from a legal perspective. Common themes in thiscategory are the serial disregard by State agencies of Indigenousrights to ‘quiet enjoyment’ (Article 111 of the Mining Act 1989) ontheir titled and customary lands and the persistent ignorance4 A gold shout is informal but widely distributed news about a gold find or goldstrike.5 A porkknocker is an itinerant coastlander prospector for gold and diamondsusing labour intensive methods and rudimentary equipment.displayed by the judiciary of Indigenous rights under Guyanese andinternational law and common law traditions.In the third category are the published works of internationalacademic researchers, which reflect some autonomy and attentionto the power dynamics that link the political directorate topowerful entrenched mining interests (Bridge, 2007; Hilson andVieira, 2007; Clifford, 2011). None disentangles the variety ofstakeholders lumped under the generic term ‘miner’ which servesto obscure the loci of power. A recent paper by Laing (2015) equatescorrelationwith causation as he attempts to credit the Ponzi REDD+ scheme in Guyana (Bulkan, 2014b) and the uncertainty followingthe 2011 national elections with a reduction in the number ofmining claims. Briefly, Laing deflects attention from the lowannualClaim Licence fee by presenting only the Guyana dollar amount –G$1000 for 11ha (notmentioning its equivalence to<US$5) (2015, p.252). Nor does he investigate (a) the surging international goldprices during the past 15 years from an average of US$271 in 2001to US$1668 in 2012 that stimulate gold mining carried out via alabyrinthine collection of rentier practices or (b) the (ab)use ofrentees’ failure to locate gold which likely account for the non-renewal at the end of a calendar year of some non-performingconcessions.The third category includes Lomarsh Roopnarine’s deskanalyses of some environmental policies and practices, initiatedand funded by international partners (Roopnarine, 2000, 2002,2006). Roopnarine pays little attention to the webs of power in thegold mining industry that effectively nullify the environmentalbest practices that exist only on paper. His initial assessment wasthat ‘during the last tenyears or so Guyana hasmade an impressivestart in [policy formulation]’ (Roopnarine, 2000, p. 209). Two yearslater he was less sanguine, concluding that ‘Guyana's environ-mental policy is laggard and ad hoc, lumbering on a continuumfrom uncertainty to dissension. Regulatory bodies are runningyears behind . . . ’ (Roopnarine, 2002, p. 83). Roopnarine’s 2006article concludes with nine recommendations advocating evenmore exercise of top-down governmental authority in thecommand and control mode, without analysing the Government’slack of interest in reform nor even acknowledging its systematicabandonment of successive integrated land use planning pro-grammes (p. 60–61).4. Spatial scales of miningGuyana’s Mining Act 1989 restricted small- and medium-scaleconcessions to Guyanese nationals and allowed joint ventures. Theintention was to protect the interests of the technologically- andfinancially-limited national sector. Perversely, as we show below,that safeguard facilitated the rapid expansion in ‘evergreen’ (or defacto perpetually renewable) concession holdings by a small cliqueof domestic investors who then set the terms of rentier trans-actions with foreign joint venture partners or with Guyaneserentees or ‘tributors’.The GGMC issues three scales of mining concessions by area –small-, medium- and large scale (Table 1). After the closure of thelarge-scaleOmai GoldMines operation in 2005, therewas no large-scale mining operation until the commissioning of GuyanaGoldfields Inc.’s hard rock operation in September 2015 (StabroekNews, 2015, September 16). The distinction between small- andmedium scale exists only on paper. In practiceWalrond et al. foundthat a small number of concession holders/rentiers monopolizedconcession holdings, both in number and area. Moreover, the samehydraulic mining methods are used in both concession types. A2007 Harvard Law School study noted that ‘According to JackMorgan, then one of the most senior executives of the GGMC, themethods employed in medium scale mining are similar to those ofSmall scale River locationha) 1500 feet long by 800 feet wide (27.5 acres)(11ha)no longer than one mile ofnavigable rivernot required not requiredectg Peure wlly.rs.uyathorntJ. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689 679Table 1Main criteria of large-, medium- and small-scale mining concessions.Large scale Medium scaleSize of claim 500 to 12,800 acres (202–5,180ha) 150 to 1200 acres (61–486Topographicdescriptiononapplicationrequired requiredNo. of claimsper person/companyunrestricted unrestrictedLicense type Prospecting Licence to prospect on aproperty (up to 3 years). MiningLicence to mine on a property (validfor 20 years)Prospecting Permit to prospmine on a property. Mininto mine on a property.Nationality ofownershipopen (100% foreign owner allowed) Guyanese only (joint-ventforeigners allowed)Renewal Prospecting Licence for 2 terms of1 year. Mining Licence for terms upto 7 years.Prospecting Permit annuaMining Permit every 5 yeaProof offinancial andtechnicalcapabilityrequired not requiredLodging ofperformancebondrequired not requiredSubmission ofprogressreportsrequired not requiredMarketing Gold could be exported directlyfrom siteGold must be sold to the GGold Board (GGB) or to aubuyersEnvironmental Environmental Impact Statement Environmental Managemesmall scale mining, just on a larger scale’ (Harvard Law School, p.12, note 76).Yet, at the GGMC’s headquarters, small- and medium-scaleconcessions are administered by separate administrative divisions:Mines Division for small scale claims, prospecting permits andmining permits while the Land Management Division administersmedium and large scale prospecting permits and mining permits.Walrond et al. concluded that ‘there is no obvious rationale orjustification for this separation which only leads to unnecessaryduplication, slothfulness in titles management and unnecessaryturf conflict. The skill set and physical requirements necessary forthe maintenance of the registry for the titles in the different scalesare relatively similar’ (Walrond et al., 2015, p. 5). However, aparallel system provides more space for opacity, corruption anddiscretionary practices at more levels.Each mining worker is required to have a Mining Privilege, acertificate which grants the holder the legal authority to work in aMining District and dates back to the AmendedMining Regulationsof 1905 (Josiah 2011, p. 50). The ‘Mines Clerical’ division of theGGMC issues Mining Privileges (Walrond et al., 2015, p. 41).The GGMC and EPA do not consistently apply either mining orenvironmental protection legislation. In terms of environmentalobligations, Section 11(1) and schedule 4 item 9 of theEnvironmental Protection Act (cap. 20:05, 1996) specify that allmining activities need an Environmental Permit because they ‘maysignificantly affect the environment’ and hence require Environ-mental Impact Assessments (EIAs). No exceptions are allowed. Inpractice, this explicit requirement is ignored, reputedly because ofan administrative exception made by the then Prime Minister inhis capacity of responsibility for mining in 1997, possibly in theobligations (EIS) and EnvironmentalManagement Plan (EMP) must besubmitted.Agreement must be signed. Lerequirement for environmentapermit not enforced.Sources: Environmental Protection Act, 1996; Lowe 2006, p. 34–35.unrestricted unrestrictedandrmitProspecting Permit to locate a claim. ClaimLicence to mine on a property. MiningPrivilege to be on or to work a claim ownedby someone else.Prospecting Permit to locate ariver claim. River LocationLicense to work claim.ith Guyanese only (joint-venture withforeigners allowed)Guyanese only (joint-venturewith foreigners allowed)Claim Licence at the end of each calendaryear.At the end of each calendaryearnot required not requirednot required not requirednot required not requirednaizedGold must be sold to the GGB or toauthorized buyersGold must be sold to the GGBor to authorized buyersEnvironmental guidelines and advisories. Environmental guidelines andbelief that the power to exempt in section 133 of the Mining Actoverrode the Environmental Protection Act, which contains no suchMinisterial power of exemption. This renders the environmentalmining regulations (2005) ineffective.65. Obtaining mining concessionsBefore locating a physical small- or medium scale claim, aprospecting permit (small scale), which costs c. US $2.50 and isvalid for one year, must be purchased from the GGMC head ordistrict office or a Mines Officer. In the case of a small scaleoperation, once a physical claim has been located, on land orstretch of river, all four corners (in the case of a land claim)must bemarked with claim boards that state the name of the claim holder,the date of location, the prospecting permit number and the nameof the creek, flat or hill where the claim is located. Next the GGMCmust be informed within 60days and a notice of location must becompleted and signed, and an application made for a claim licencewhich is the actual permission to mine for gold on a small scale.‘The claimwill not be considered to be valid until there has been anon the ground verification by the GGMC’ (HerMajesty the Queen inRight of Guyana, 2012, p. 16).7gallLegal requirement for environmentalpermit not enforced.advisories. Legal requirementfor environmental permit notenforced.6 See also a statement attributed to the Chief Executive Officer of the IndigenousPeoples Commission, Autry Haynes, that ‘for small and medium scale mining, anEnvironmental Impact Assessment is not required’ (Stabroek News 23 March 2013,“’Our last refuge’ – Kako battling to protect river from miners”).7 This report was prepared for the GGMC under the Canadian-funded GENCAPD(Guyana Environmental Capacity Development Mining Project).edium scale Small scale1 to 486ha 11haesesesesd inardThoTable 3No. of registered river dredges.8Year No. of registered dredges2001 9272002 10222003 10922004 11882005 15032006 16172007 17942008 20722010 31022011 15242012 18032013 1203Sources: Lowe 2006, p. 14; GGMC 2008, p. 10; GGMC 2011, p. 15; GGMC 2012, p. 33;CI et ?al., 2013, p. 9.680 J. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689At the medium scale, the applicant for a mining permit shouldfulfil additional requirements: supplying proof of ‘an Environmen-tal Management Agreement . . . an approved mercury retort . . .a closure plan, a contingency and emergency plan and lodge anenvironmental bond’ (Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Guyana,2012). A prospective large scale operator ‘will have to submit atechnical and economic feasibility study, a mine plan and anenvironmental plan’ (Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Guyana,2012). Noteworthy is the absence from the two lists of the EPArequirement for an Environmental Permit even though the EPA asprimary law takes precedence over GGMC’s Regulations (seeSection 2).6. Spatial coverage of three scales of concessions – change overtimeGGMC maps show that medium- and small-scale miningTable 2Concession scales, no. and kind of mining licences (2007–2014).Year/Total areaallocated for miningTotal areaunder licencesLarge scale202 to 5180ha1990 80,000ha1994 1.2Mha (3million acres)50 applicants1996 2.2Mha >50 new1997 >3Mha2007 13 prospecting licences, 10 mining licenc2008 13.4Mha (33.3million acres)9.2Mha (68.5%) (22.9 million acres); 13prospecting licences, 10 mining licences2009 121 prospecting licences2010 136 prospecting licences, 7 mining licenc2011 191 prospecting licences, 8 mining licenc2014 149 prospecting licences, 15 mining licencNote: the peculiar numbers of hectares are due to the original data being expresseSources: Bridge 2007; Colchester,1997; Colchester et al., 2002; [319_TD$DIFF]GGMC2008, p. 7; HarvHer Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2012, p. 11; 2007 and 2008 figures fromWalrond et al., 2015, p. 26).concessions are laid out side-by-side in rectangular blocks overlarge areas, regardless of topography, sometimes remote frommapped or likely mineralization. It is not clear how the potentiallygold-bearing areas in State Lands and State Forests have beensegmented by GGMC into the three area categories. The 2008 dataindicate that the lion’s share by area was reserved for large-scaleprospecting: 13.4Mha or 97.5% of available mining lands werealienated under large- (69%), medium- (30%) and small scale (<1%)prospecting permits or claim licences (Table 2) (GGMC, 2008, p. 7).Since the liberalization ushered in by the 1989 Mining Act,concessions have been held as speculative investments becausethey are cheap to acquire and cheap to retain: ‘the number of newclaims more than doubled from 1316 in 1988–3,070 in 1991. Thiswas a period in which gold prices actually fell, suggesting that theincrease in claim activity in Guyana was driven more by theliberalization ofmining legislation (which facilitated the process ofmaking claims) than by international price trends’ (Bridge, 2007 [325_TD$DIFF]).Between 2011 and 2014, as the international gold price rose,medium-scale mining permits almost tripled and small-scaleclaim licences also increased (Table 2). As noted (Table 1), jointventures with non-Guyanese individuals or companies arepermitted at the medium- and small-scales. There are norestrictions on the nationality of holders of large scale prospectingand mining licences.3594 prospecting permits, 373 miningpermits10,563 claim licences(116,193ha), 65 prospectingpermits4.1Mha (30.4%) (10.1 million acres); 5413prospecting permits, 550 mining permits12,582 claim licences(138,402ha), 107 prospectingpermits6287 prospecting permits4879 prospecting permits, 742 miningpermits14,335 claim licences(157,685ha)5560 prospecting permits, 1074 miningpermits15,032 claim licences(165,352ha)7615 prospecting permits, 2904 miningpermitsfeet and acres.LawSchool, 2007; HerMajesty the Queen in Right of Guyana, 20122009figures frommas, 2009, p. 5; 2010 and 2011 figures from GGMC 2011, p. 15; 2014 figures from [320_TD$DIFF]M6Table 3 lists the registered river dredges between 2008 and2013. In 2005 there were an estimated 9000 unregistered dredgesoperating in the interior, while only 1500were registered (HarvardLaw School, 2007, p. 32).7. Retaining licences according to mining law and in practiceIn law, small- and medium scale mining concession holdersenjoy time-limited and circumscribed rights to demarcated areasof public lands. In practice, they exercise the following rightscustomarily associated with private (freehold) property: ‘a right touse and manage the property; to derive income from renting it toothers; . . . and to operate without a term limiting the possessionof these rights’ (Weaver, 2006, p. 49). Concessions at small- andmedium scales cannot be transferred by private sale to otherconcession holders (Section 58(2) of the Mining Act). Large-scaleconcession licences can be sold with prior agreement of the GGMC(Section 28 of the Mining Act).8 ‘The judicial system is generally perceived to be slow and ineffective inenforcing contracts or resolving disputes. Perceptions of corruption and long delaysmake the courts an unattractive option for settling investment or contractualdisputes, particularly for foreign investors unfamiliar with Guyana’ (US Departmentof State, 2013).Walrond et al. noted that ‘While the GGMC has the authority to notgrant these [medium scale] Permits if it deems the holderincapable of assuming the obligations of the performance in thisscheme (lack of capacity), or to prevent renewals for the samereasons or non-performance, this system is operating much likethe [small scale] claim system, where there is an “automatic”expectation of allocation, or retention regardless of capacity oreffort’ (Walrond et al., 2015, p. 35).Concession licences are cheap, are renewed automatically, andare concentrated in a small number of individuals. Table 1 sets outthe conditions for retention of mining concessions. Claim Licencesat the small- and Prospecting Permits at the medium scale have tobe renewed at the end of each calendar year; andmining permits atthe medium scale every five years. Table 4 shows that licence feesare nominal. There is no limit on the number of licences that can beheld by one miner or mining company. In practice, concessionrenewal is automatic regardless of whether the concession holderis engaged in mining or not.As almost all the area allocated for mining at the small andmedium scales is held under concession licences, the only optionavailable to most current or prospective miners is to negotiate amedium-scale mining permits, 38 persons held 45 per cent (3422of all Prospecting Permits Medium Scale (PPMS)) and the 24entities with the most permits held 42 per cent (1222 out of a totalof 2904) (2015, p. 92). The then GGMC Head admitted the landhunger among prospective claim holders:‘GGMC Head Rickford Vieira highlighted that the root cause ofsome of the disorders can be linked to competition for availableworking lands. He said that this is supported by the evidence of3550 new applications for land claims, 949 new river claims,and 3236 new mining privileges which were issued’ (StabroekNews, 2015, 7 February).Astonishingly some concession holders were allowed to renewtheir concessions even though the annual fee was in arrears(Walrond et al., 2015, p. 30. Press accounts in early 2016confirmed Walrond et al.’s finding of near-monopoly control bya few persons over the area allocated for small and medium-scaleconcessions (Guyana Chronicle, 2016; Gaskin, 2016). The extent ofthe concentration of State-issued mining properties in a fewhands is alleged to be even higher given the practice wherebyconcessions controlled by one person are often held in someoneelse’s name.firssecothirfourfifthovereigncal ofirssecothirn ad2.5)$5)$10)J. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689 681contract as a ‘tributor’ on a concession held by landlords. A tributoror tenant is ‘one who works in a contract agreement with a claimowner for a percentage of the mineral output. The relationshipbetween the claimholder and tenants is governed by privatecontract’ (Lowe, 2006, p. 9). Tributors paid an annual fee on eachpiece of mining equipment in addition to the tribute. The landlordalso endorsed the Mining Privileges of each worker attached to thetributor (Stabroek News, 2015, 14 June). The unsatisfied demand isdemonstrated by the fact that the Land Management Division‘receives 200–250 new applications for medium scale propertieson a monthly basis’ (Walrond et al., 2015, p. 6).Monopolised land holdings in forestry and mining are linked tolow concession fees. As Grut et al. noted in relation to loggingconcessions in West and Central Africa, ‘forest concessions arecommonly allocated at minimal fees, with the result that largeareas are sought and acquired, the forest is treated as a “free good”,held for speculation, and exploited rather than managed’ (Grutet al., 1991, p. 2).Walrond et al. computed that in 2013 or 2014 the 50 individualsor enterprises with the largest numbers of mining claims held 82per cent of the area under small-scale claims (12,279 out of a totalof over 15,000 claims, covering an area of 135,069ha) (Walrondet al., 2015, p. 91). One person held over 1500 claims. Likewise, forTable 4Official fees for prospecting and mining permits.Mineral property, licence type $/acre/annumProspecting Licence (large scale) US $0.50 forUS $0.60 forUS $1.00 forUS $1.50 forUS $2.00 forUS $3.00 forMining Licence (large scale) US $5.00 (foUS $3.00 (loProspecting Permit (medium scale) US $0.25 forUS $0.35 forUS $0.45 forThereafter, aProspecting Permit (small scale) G $500 (US$Mining Permit (medium scale) US $1Claim Licence (small scale) to mine for gold and precious stones G $1000 (USRiver location licence (presumably per mile) G $2000 (USSource: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2012, p. 112.Unsurprisingly, Walrond et al. found that raiding or unlicensedmining was ‘a huge problem’ [on account of] ‘corruption, dataentry . . . also “sloppy” with coordinates that plot in the wrongplace . . . Some Mines Officers do not appear to be familiar withthe best methods of researching the validity of a claim eventhough there is a SOP [standard operating procedure] to trainofficers. Issues that are critical include the dates when claimswere located and verified, whether they were relocated, and thedates when larger scale permits were applied for. Often oldermaps for verified claims cannot be located, or are inaccurate’(Walrond et al., 2015, p. 43).Walrond et al. noted the intent of mining law and policy was‘beneficial occupation’ and equity in access for small-scale miners.In their view:‘It was never and could not be the intention of the framers of themining laws for one artisan/small miner to own over 1000claims . . . By definition, the small-scale miner is assumed tohave his operations limited to mining with tools, which havethe ability to move less than 200m3 of earth, includingoverburden in any given day. Similarly, the overarchingconsideration is that he cannot explore vast tracks of landwith his limited resources and if he must operate in thisUS$/ha/annumt year 0.20nd year 0.24d year 0.40th year 0.61year 0.81r 5 years 1.21ownership) 2.02wnership) 1.21t year 0.10nd year 0.14d year 0.18ditional US $0.10 per acre for each successive additional yearnds continued to treat landlordism as normative by issuingertificates of registration’ and ‘mining privileges’ to the estimated8000 active miners, mostly tributors or rentees on concessions682 J. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689scheme, he must limit his total holdings in any given year toacceptable levels. If he is unsuccessful, then he can relinquish itand move elsewhere or pay the small price of the rental for notallowing someone else the opportunity towork on that ground.In a practical sense, there must be a limit to claim holding and20 claims (500 acres) would be on the generous side forpersons wishing to engage in the small-scale scheme of mining’(Walrond et al., 2015, p. 35).8. ‘The pervasive perception of corruption’The growth of authoritarian government from the attainment ofindependence from colonial rule in 1966 has weakened theintended system of checks and balances in public administration.Until the change of government in May 2015, the State paid scantinterest to the market value of gold, the wasting resource whoseexploitation brought financial wealth to a few but at a high cost tothe hinterland ecosystems and communities and to the workers atthe bottom of the value chain. The rentiers were interested in the‘cut’ which they could top-slice from the mining workers andmining operations that did the actual work. Rentier ‘owners’negotiated deals with sub-contractors (some foreign, others local)without any involvement of the State, the owner of mining lands.The government made no attempt to establish a sovereign wealthfund from mining taxes or to enforce Mining Regulations. Insteadsome rentiers maintain private armed enforcers, and their extra-legal actions were immune on account of their power or Partypolitical connections. Some of the large concession holdersreputedly practised a rough form of frontier justice, contributingto the climate of fear in their concessions (pers. comm.). Theupshot was the de facto privatization of public lands and thesocialization of the environmental and human costs of goldmining.The management and systems review of the GGMC carried outin late 2014 noted in several places ‘the pervasive perception ofcorruption, perceived lack of transparency and a low public imageof the Commission’ (Walrond et al., 2015, p. 2). The aforementioneddiscretionary power held by the Minister (see Section 2) appearedto have been (ab)used by ‘the granting of specific requests forClosed Areas . . . not always the subject of clear and transparentjustification’ and by not cancelling certain Mining Permits eventhough the low rental fees were not being paid for them (Walrondet al., 2015, p. 30).‘Closed Areas’ refer to lands hitherto held under large-scaleProspecting Licences that are progressively released by theconcession holder into the public resource available for re-allocation. A ‘Closed Areas Committee’ had been formed in 1994to advise the Minister on the apportionment of these releasedareas among the different scales of mining. This Committee waseffectively defunct between 2005 and 2014, replaced by Ministe-rial discretion (Kaieteur News, 2014, January 29). When revived in2014, the Committee was chaired by the Chair of the GGMC Board,an individual implicated in acquiring mining concessions throughinsider trading (Goolsarran, 2015).Perhaps because of the shortage of other investment andemployment prospects in Guyana, and the cultural importance ofbush life especially for young male African Guyanese, at times ofrelatively high gold prices there are far more people seeking accessto land for mining than the numbers of available mining claim(licences). Thus it is a seller’s market from the point of view ofrentiers. By the 1990s, rentiers alone determined who could be arentee and the rate of rent or ‘tribute’. Almost all obligations on theholder of a mining claim can be passed on to the sub-contractor.The importance of goldmining inheres in its generation of jobs andforeign exchange. The State which is the de jure owner of miningheld by GGDMA members (GGMC, 2012, p. 16).The system was protected by the lack of administrativeoversight, cronyism and an inefficient judicial system: ‘The currentlaws . . . allow properties to be challenged. However, challenginga property is onerous and time consuming, and may not be worththe effort. In any case, this is not themodus operandi of the currentcommunity’ (Walrond et al., 2015, p. 29).9Another key issue is the adversarial race relations thatpermeate all aspects of political, economic and social life, includingin the mining sector (Bulkan, 2014b). A study of patterns of tenureinsecurity in Guyana noted, ‘a more general reality needs to berecognized, namely that in Guyana, politics, economics, ethnicityand access to land are all entangled to form a complex and oftenvolatile mix’ (Lemel, 2001, p. 3). As explained below, the formerEast Indian-dominated Government did not succeed in exertingtotal control over the majority African, Portuguese and Mixedmembers of the GGDMA. The Government circumvented thepower of the GGDMA to some degree by allocating miningconcessions to its supporters and supporting new associations. AsWalrond et al. explained:‘Strong complaints have been received related to handling ofprospecting licences (PL) renewals as well as PL applicationswith respect to multiple minerals . . . One issue is thatdirectives can come from higher in the chain. Some publicconcern occurs with respect to the way recently small parts ofa PL have been transferred to a Medium Scale Mining Licence,allowing mining without the official requirements of an EIS(Environmental Impact Study) and a mineral agreement. Twospecific examples are known (Mahdia Gold and EagleMountain). At what level this is authorised is a question’(2015, p. 20).The resulting concentration in ownership of public propertymirrored the situation in the forestry sector; both benefitted fromState cronyism (Bulkan, 2014a). A forensic audit of the GuyanaGoldBoard in 2015 confirmed the practice of automatic concessionrenewal for the politically favoured, not linked to evidence of goldproduction, payment of annual licence fees or compliance withenvironmental obligations (Stabroek News, 2016b, April 28).9. Landlords, tributors and the normalisation of illegalitiesThe terms ‘landlord’ and ‘landlordism’ appear frequently inreports and articles on mining in Guyana and describe what hasbecome a normative practice on the coast and hinterland  theprivate renting of publicly owned resources. ‘Landlordism . . . hasa long history in Guyana, first appearing in mid 1890s when largelocal investors began to desert the industry in the face of toughermining laws’ (Lowe, 2006, p. 12). Arguably landlordism goes backtoDutch timeswhenplantation owners andmanagers did not go tothe forest to cut trees themselves but commissioned free (formerlyenslaved) Africans to harvest trees and towork the land grants andleases secured by the plantocracy. The rentier practice in mining isacknowledged in the Mining Regulations (1972, part XVI,regulations 143–156) although the practice appears to be contra-dicted by sections 62 (2) (a) and 63 (3) (a) in theMining Act (1989):‘the Commission shall not grant a mining permit or claim licence –(a) if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant doesnot intend to carry on, in good faith, within the limits of his9 The highest annual production in that first periodwas of 139,000 ounces of goldin 1894.la‘c>landlord-tributor relations by the regulatory agency in the MiningDistricts.Only a small percentage of prospective gold workers havesecured contractual employment with the few reputable goldJ. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689 683competence and resources, mining operations in the proposedclaim’.The GGDMA which represents concession holders only hassuccessfully resisted any changes in policies or procedures thatsought to cap the number of concessions that could be held by oneperson or company or end the practice of automatic renewal ofconcessions annually. The Mining Regulations (1972) concerninglessees and tributors (contractors and their workers) do notimpose any technical obligations on either the rentier or thecontractor, and afford no security of tenure to the contractor.The GGMC’s presence in the mining areas was and remainsminimal. In 2007, ‘11 Mines Officers [were] employed . . . [at a]monthly wage of US $270 . . . [the] value of one ounce of goldranged between US $400 and US $575 (Harvard Law School, p. v).Unsurprisingly, at that time there was “a standard bribe of oneounce of gold to get a mines officer to ignore a tailings dumpingproblem (Harvard Law School, p. 13). Seven years later, Walrondet al. inferred that GGMC monitoring had not increased:‘Interestingly, the supplies and field expenses as a percentage ofthe total expenditure has been steadily reducing (except fieldexpenses 2014) suggesting that the extent of field activity hasreduced, or that the cost of doing fieldwork has reduced . . . theformer better reflects reality . . . ” (Harvard Law School, 2007, p. 3).By 2012, the number of field officers had increased to about 38(GGMC, 2012).The GGMC’s performance as a regulatory agency was rated aspoor (Waldron et al., 2015). State inaction gave the rentiers a freehand: contractors were used in effect as prospectors, and thenejected by the rentier landlord if significant gold were found(Thomas, 2009, p. 19). There was consequently no incentive for thecontractor to engage in environmentally or socially responsiblemining.In the period after 1989 and particularly after 2007 when theprice of gold began to climb, the mostly African Guyanese mencould only gain access to mining lands as workers for claim/permitholders or as tributors. In 2006, Lowe estimated that ‘80% ofminingoccurs through arrangements whereby miners take positions onsomeone else's claim. Claim owners would traditionally chargetheir tenants (or tributors) a tribute of 10% of gold won on theproperty. As these arrangements are private and followno industrystandard, the size of the tribute can vary from case to case’ (p. 12).There is no official recording of such arrangements and norequirement to do so in the successive Mining Acts. Brazilianminers dispersed across the three Guianas allegedly were willingto pay higher rates of tribute, perhaps linked to the charge thatthey exported a large proportion of mined gold illegally back toBrazil through the porous border, thereby not paying State taxesand royalties. ‘The GGMC estimates that there are over 1000Brazilians in the industry . . . 17% of persons employed in smalland medium scale gold and diamond mining . . . 17% of dredgesare owned by Brazilians’ (Lowe, 2006, p. 11).There is very little disaggregated data in the only two annualreports  2011 and 2012–submitted in recent years by the GGMCto the National Assembly (GGMC, 2011, 2012). The 2011 AnnualReport recorded that ‘1767 persons held “Certificates ofRegistration” and 6572 held Mining Privileges’ (GGMC, 2011, p.16). Regulations 161, 163 and 167 of the Principal Regulations ofthe Mining Act 1989 address the issue of maintaining a record ofall labourers with a lawful right to be present in a Mining District.Regulation 167 specifies that ‘The Registering Officer shall keep arecord of the names, ages, residence, places and terms ofemployment and proposed wages of persons registered and ofsuch other particulars as the Minister may direct’. Yet, by theGGMC’s own admission, only a quarter of mining labourersheld ‘Certificates of Registration’ (1767 of 6572 persons holdingMining Privileges)  further evidence of the lack of oversight ofmining companies that offer regular salaries, benefits andinsurance. For most, the precariousness of their livelihoods ispart of the story of gold mining in Guyana, in which the labourerswho take the most risk earn the smallest share. Safe workregulations exist only on paper and some sub-contractors of theconcession holders take risks that result in fatalities. The pastGovernment’s lack of interest in enforcing regulations meant thatthe numbers of deaths in mining pit cave-ins and related tragediesmight be reported in the Press or not at all.10 deaths in 2014 and byAugust 2015, at least 14 deaths had been recorded, with two liveslost on 1 and 2 September 2015. Following the deaths of 10 minersin May 2015, the Press repeatedly called for more activeinvolvement of the Ministry of Labour (Kaieteur News, 2015, 8June). In June 2015 the new government announced a PresidentialCommission and promised to follow up on its recommendations.An anonymous newspaper contributor was not contradicted inhis statement: ‘It is awell-known fact that, mine owners/managersdeem their workers to be self-employed persons in order to reduceadministrative overheads by not having to pay the employer’sportion of a contribution which is 8.4% of the worker’s insurablewages’ (Stabroek News, 2015, 13 July). The writer noted that few ofthe hand-to-mouth mining workers register as self-employedpersons under the National Insurance Scheme which wouldrequire them to make a monthly payment at the rate of 12.5% oftheir insurable wages. As a result, the families of dead minersreceive neither death nor survivor’s benefits.Mining insiders did not hold out much hope for the PresidentialCommission onmining accidents. A mineworker who spoke to thePress on condition of anonymity expressed the view ‘that thefrequency of mining accidents and the attendant loss of life was areflection of what he described as a “long-standing pattern oflawlessness and indifference to the value of human life” thatobtains in the sector . . . The problems start with corruption andthe fact that the government can’t seem to enforce rules. The placeswhere we mine gold are far away from Georgetown and when youare in those places you are on your own. You do as you like. Theboss makes the decision and the people take the risks. It’s how wemake a living.’ According to the miner the absence of controls andadherence to regulations is somemining operations had to dowitha culture of corruption that causes mining officials to “turn theother way” as far as ensuring that the regulations are adhered to.‘It’s the gold and the money that talks’ (Stabroek News, 2015, 14August).10. Economic importance of gold mining – changes over timeGold mining was in its heyday in two periods: between 1884and 1914 and from2005 to the present (2015). In both periods, goldproduction and export made up a sizable part of the economy. Inthe peak years of the first period – from 1884 to the turn of thecentury – gold production increased from 6518 troy ounces in1886–134,124 troy ounces in 1892, and indeed during a six-yearperiod (1884–1900), over one and a quarter million troy ounces ofgold were produced. By the turn of the century, gold exports madeup 22 per cent of colonial exports.10 In the second period, fromaround 2000, Guyana’s economy became increasingly dependenton the proceeds of gold mining (Clifford 2011, p. 355). Lucas (2015)10 The CI et al. figure for registered dredges is 12,039. Both CI and WWF haveconfirmed that this is a typographical mistake, repeated in the various drafts (perscomm).noted ‘ . . . gold has been the single largest earner of foreignexchange for Guyana. Its foreign receipts dwarf those of sugar, rice,timber, fisheries and bauxite, the other major exports of Guyana’(2015).Goldmining is the classic boom and bust industry, responsive torises in the price of gold in times of global economic insecuritywhen gold is seen as a safer investment than stocks, bonds orcurrency. Declared output from gold mining tracked in tandemwith the international gold price to a high of US$ 1668 in 2012 onthe London bullionmarket which averaged US $638 between 2000and 2011, rising from US $273 in 2000 to US$ 1652 in 2011; seeFig. 1.The Guyana Gold Board Act (cap. 66:01of 1981, sections 6–10)stipulated that all gold produced by localminers had to be declaredand sold to the Guyana Gold Board (GGB). In 1994, the Guyana GoldBoard (Amendment) Act removed the monopoly of the GGB as thesole purchaser of gold, providing an option for production fromany15,000 ounces per week’ (Guyana Ministry of Finance, 2015, p. 7).The Minister of Finance repeated this estimate in his 2016 Budgetspeech (Jordan 2016 [326_TD$DIFF]). The Guyana Gold and Diamonds MinersAssociation (GGDMA) protested the government’s claim butwithout offering any evidence to the contrary (Stabroek News2016a [327_TD$DIFF]).Access to valuable tax concessions such as duty-free fuel is intheory restricted to miners who have some declared goldproduction and are tax compliant. Fig. 1 shows a close correspon-dence between the official data on artisanal gold productionbetween 1990 and 2010 and GGB purchases. The persistentacknowledgments of undeclared gold production made byGovernment officials and others (AP, 2012; Gildarie 2012; GuyanaTimes 2014; Jordan 2016 [328_TD$DIFF]), and the repeated assertions that at leasthalf of the gold produced is never declared in the publishedproduction figures have been confirmed by US authorities (seeSection 11). There would be further confirmation of large-scalegold smuggling in a forensic audit of the GGB done in 2015 (Ram684 J. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689kind of mining operation to be sold to licensed gold buyers ordealers. The extent of under-declaration (see Section 11) suggeststhat this legal requirement is widely ignored. Walrond et al. foundthat ‘a cursory examination of the declaration by producers/declarers of gold and diamonds demonstrate absolutely nocorrelation between large claim holding and production/declara-tion’ (2015, p. 7).The GGMC does not publish data on gold produced byindividual holders of small- and medium-scale concession holdersand/or by the rentees on those concessions. TheMining Act 1989 isnot explicit about production records, although Mining Regulation181(1) appears to require the keeping of daily records. The onlyofficial record of aggregate gold production is issued by the GGB. Itis not clear that the GGB figures include the gold purchased by thelicensed gold buyers. As the GGMC’s presence is thin on the groundin all Mining Districts it seems unlikely that the Commission cancorroborate the miners’ declarations with sales to the GGB and tolicensed dealers.A comparison of the statistics for gold production and goldexports in Bank of Guyana annual reports show large positivedifferences in the late 1990s, suggesting either hoarding ofproduction or undeclared exports. However, from 2000, thereare no significant discrepancies between gold production andexports, thus suggesting that the acknowledged illegal under-declaration of production and smuggling was taking place in theunder-ground economy.National elections in May 2015 ushered in a coalitiongovernment after 22 years of uninterrupted PPP rule. Declarationsof gold production had peaked in 2012 and the new governmentannounced that it would crack down on ‘rampant’ gold smuggling(Stabroek News, 2015, 27 August), estimated to be as much as[(Fig._1)TD$FIG]050100150200250300350'000 Troy ouncesArtisanal gold production and GGB purchases, 1990 - 2010Fig. 1. Artisanal gold production and GGB purchases, 1990–2010.Sources: Bank of Guyana Annual Reports; Bureau of Statistics Annual Reports;Guyana Gold Board Note: Koz = ‘000 troy ounces.and McRae 2016; Stabroek News, 2016b, April 28).In practice, until the change of government in 2015, favouredminers were allegedly being granted duty free concessions in spiteof being in tax arrears (Stabroek News, 2015, December 4). In its2015 Budget, the Government announced some additionalconcessions for miners but linked them to evidence of taxcompliance. Unsurprisingly the GGDMA said it was in negotiationwith the Government including on the issue of ‘negotiating anamnesty for those miners who are not tax-compliant’ (StabroekNews, 2015, 19 October).Fig. 2 shows that gold exports as a percentage of GDP perannum averaged 9 per cent in the 1990s, 11 per cent in the firstdecade of the 21st century and 20 per cent during the years 2010–2014. Note that only in the three years 2011–2013 have declaredgold exports exceeded the long-term average 9–16 per cent of GDPsince 1993. Given past trends, it is likely that gold production fromsmall- and medium-scale mining will continue to fluctuate intandem with the international gold price.The importance of the sector lies in its multiplier effects. Goldworkers at all levels earnwages that are among the highest paid inGuyana. Both Thomas and Clifford estimated that over 90,000persons or an estimated 12–14 per cent of the population (750,000in the 2012 census) were directly or indirectly dependent on thegold and diamondmining industries (Thomas, 2009, p. 13; Clifford2011, p. 356). The gold fever enabled the GGDMA, the representa-tive of mining concession holders, to successfully resist anychanges in policies or procedures that appeared to restrict theirpersonal interests. For example, the (ab)use of mercury has notslowed (Legg et al., 2015) and furthermore, concession holders[(Fig._2)TD$FIG]Fig. 2. Artisanal gold production as% GDP, 1990  2014.Sources: Bank of Guyana Annual Reports; Bureau of Statistics Annual Reports;Guyana Gold Board Note: Koz = ‘000 troy ounces.J. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689 685have evinced no interest in accessing the funding available “toexamine and test mercury-free gold mining equipment” (StabroekNews, 2015, 11 January). It is the State, as ultimate owner of publiclands and in conformity with its obligations since 2014 under theMinamata Convention, which has to enforce a move towardsmercury-free mining.11. Losses to the exchequerThe losses to the Nation State can be grouped into financial,social and environmental categories. We restrict our review to thefinancial losses only in this article.11.1. Financial lossesCitizens of gold-producing countries expect their governmentstomonitor production and trade so as to capture themaximumnetsocial benefit for State coffers from a mineral which is a wastingasset and whose production is linked to negative environmentaland social externalities. In the absence of publicly collected andavailable data, the losses to the State from the lawless gold miningsector can only be inferred. State officials have admitted informallyto the loss of revenue from undeclared gold smuggled; the lack ofaction can be attributed to political patronage. In 2005, a Harvardteamwere told by GGMC officials that as much as an estimated 30per cent to 80 per cent of undeclared gold (then estimated at US$200 million) were smuggled out annually without being taxed(Harvard Law School, 2007, p. 32). “AnantiramBalram, thefinancialofficer of the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) estimated that only two-thirds of gold mined in Guyana was sold through the GGB . . .Balram also pointed out that a high number of the miners sellingtheir gold to the GGB are unregistered as a consequence of the highlevels of illegal mining taking place in Guyana” (interview on 12January 2005) (Harvard Law School, 2007, p. 33). Ten months later,‘Robeson Benn, Commissioner of the GGMC, estimated that minersproduced three times as much gold as they declared’ (interview on25 October 2005) (Harvard Law School, 2007, p. 22, note 149).Some evidence of how the systemworked emerged from eventsoutside the control of the Guyana Government. In this section wepresent three additional instances of financial losses to the State:(i) payments made by two foreign companies to holders of MiningPermits Medium Scale (MPMS); (ii) the Curaçao gold heist inNovember 2012 and (iii) the US Government’s exposure of a goldsmuggling ring in August 2015.11.2. Payments to holders of mining permits medium scale made byforeign companiesMining Permits Medium Scale (MPMS), legally held byGuyanese only but with joint ventures with foreign entitiesallowed, increased from 373 in 2007–2904 in 2015 (Table 2).MPMS, like small-scale claim licences, are prized commodities forthe Guyanese rentier class. Gavin Bridge, who had access to GGMCfiles, confirmed the scale of private wealth transfers from the early1990s: ‘Records of firms that began operating in Guyana during theearly 1990s, for example, suggest that the holders of mineral rightscould be paid betweenUS $3000 and US $4000 per permit for theirrole in putting up the land as part of a joint venture, with royaltyagreements capable of earning the holders tens of thousands oreven hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars per year’ (2007, p. 84).Appendix A details the payments in cash (US $1,565,000),common shares (US $426,687) and purchase warrants (US$104,420) made to Wayne Vieira, ‘under option’ for 4 mediumscale Mining Permits, by Canadian-owned StrataGold Guyana Inc.over a seven year period (2004–2011) (Boyle 2011). The maximumsize of amedium scale permit is 486ha (Table 1) so atmost Vieira’sfour permits covered 1944ha or 0.05 per cent of the total areaallocated to medium scale concessions in [329_TD$DIFF] 008. This informationonly came into the public domain after Vieira sued StrataGoldGuyana Inc. when they applied to the GGMC for the option toacquire the Mining Permits.Walrond himself was the rentier in a similar deal which cameto light in 2010. Canadian mining company, Shoreham, agreed‘over a five-year period the principals [Messrs Grantley Walrondand Lumumba] of [MPMS] Mariwawill be paid an aggregate of US$1 million and will issue an aggregate of 1.5 million commonshares’ (Stabroek News, 2010, 7 April). The newspaper accountdetailed a range of other payments for the 4000ha MPMS. Thethen President of Guyana, Jagdeo, admitted that he had instructedthat the MPMS be issued, even though he did not have anyauthority in law to do so. Before his partnership with Lumumba, aPresidential Advisor, Walrond, a former GGMC Commissioner,had owed US $25,000 in unpaid concession fees on Mariwa(Stabroek News, 2010, 26 April).Even if only a fraction of the MPMS holders were able toleverage financial payments on the scale of Vieira, Lumumba andWalrond, the sums provide an indication of the wealth transfers toindividuals who enjoyed de facto privatize benefits from publiclyowned lands.11.3. The [330_TD$DIFF]Curaçao gold heist in November 2012On 30 November 2012, the crew of a fishing boat, the ‘SummerBliss’ which had just docked in Curaçao from Guyana was held atgunpoint and relieved of 70 gold bars [weighing 476 pounds]worthan estimated US $11.5 million. It took the Guyana Press to calculatethat ‘If the gold was smuggled out of Guyana, the country has lostUS $805,000 based on the five percent royalty and two percent tax’(Chabrol, 2012). The Government of Guyana made no attempt topursue the matter in the 2.5 years up to the change of governmentin May 2015.At first, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources and theEnvironment maintained that ‘stolen Curaçao gold didn’t originatehere . . . as there is no paperwork to suggest it left these shores’(Stabroek News, 2012a, 8 December). However, a crewmemberreportedly told investigators in Curacao that the boat had departedGuyana four days prior to the robbery (Kaieteur News, 2012, 29December).Corroboration of the likelihood of Guyana Governmentinvolvement in or knowledge of the heist was furnished by theactions of the Curaçao and US authorities who ignored the formerin the investigations mounted. The GGMC Commissioner wasreported by Stabroek News as ‘saying that persons on the Dutchisland were not cooperative. “Our people are still working on thereport. People in Curaçao were not cooperating with our people.They never spokewith the crewmembers; all the information theygot is on the robbery,” he said’ (Stabroek News, 2012, 29December).The Curaçao and US authorities probed a pattern of Guyaneseraw gold smuggled from Guyana, laundered in Curaçao and thenshipped to theUSA: ‘ . . . reports have surfaced of a dossier on illicitshipments fromGuyana for the last 15 years’ (StabroekNews, 2013,3 February). The boat crew were placed under witness protection(Stabroek News, 2013, 26 May).Informed sources in Guyana were in no doubt that the Curaçaoand US authorities offered witness protection to the smugglers:‘According to a security source, from all indications localauthorities know the identities of those behind the Curaçao goldbut aremaking little effort to investigate them. Stabroek Newswastold that gold smuggling is a business that has been going on foryears and had it not been for the heist its extent probably wouldnot have been exposed’ (Stabroek News, 2012, 8 December).11shadCo686 J. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689through the country’smajor ports. “Based on information gatheredwe suspect a number ofmajor networks/individuals are engaged inthis practice . . . there are hundreds of people . . . some are well-established businesses licensed to export gold,” he said’ (StabroekNews, 2015, 3 September). The investigationswere still on-going inOctober 2015.12. Policy recommendationsEven in the absence of an overall national policy on mining(Thomas, 2009, p. 32) it seems clear that the successive versions ofthe mining legislation did not envisage the massive accumulationof claim licences for small-scale mining by a small number ofindividuals. Guyana has committed to revise legislation for miningand forestry, in the strategy for the Ministry of Natural Resourcesand the Environment (GLSC, 2013). The rentier mentality is toodeeply embedded in the business life of Guyana to be swept awaysimply by legislation. However, the economic, environmental andsocial damage and poor governance caused by the current rentierpractices in mining could be reduced by:12.1. Rentier responsibilityRentier responsibility making the mining licence holder legallyresponsible for acts of commission and omission in every licencedmine. Thus the licence holder, not the contractor or tributor, wouldbe responsible for implementing the environmental miningregulations, including soil and water management, health andsafety requirements, and post-mining site restoration.12.2. FPICFree, Prior And Informed Consent – an obligation with respectto the nine Amerindian Peoples which was acquired by theGovernment of Guyana when it endorsed the United NationsDeclaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September2007. FPIC is stated as a national policy in the second version offormer President Jagdeo’s Low Carbon Development Strategy(Guyana Office of the President, 2009, p. 59) although only theMembers of Parliament of the governing Party approved the LCDSin the National Assembly. UNDRIP 2007 is only the latest of a seriesof assurances by which Amerindian communities can preventunwanted mining in their titled and customary territories: the guarantee of land titling in annex C, section L, of theIndependence Agreement with the United Kingdom in 1965(Letwiniuk, 1996, p. 50–51); the preamble to the Amerindian Lands Commission Act (cap.59:03, 1966); section 111 in theMining Act 1989–the ‘quiet enjoyment’ clause; the preamble and articles 149 (G) of the National Constitution(cap.01:01, 1980/2003); sections 48–53 of the Amerindian Act (cap. 29:01, 2006).However, section 50 allows the Minister to override a Villagerefusal on the grounds of ‘public interest’, although neither thisPrlocrough the country’s airports to the USA and Brazil.The head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) told theess ‘there is evidence of a large-scale network involving severalally-registered mining companies in the smuggling of gold outNotheeced the country of more than US $200 million betweenvember 2014 to March 2015. The smugglers were moving golddefltails of a money laundering and gold smuggling racket that hadIn late August 2015, Guyanese and US authorities released some20.4. The US government’s exposure of a gold smuggling ring, [331_TD$DIFF]August15ntralist approach to government of the previous PPP/C politicalministration. Implementation of article 146 of the Nationalnstitution 1980/2003–the citizens’ right to information abouttracee GGMC in late 2014/early 2015 showhow the restriction ofwhatould be public information has encouraged the growth of insiderding. Restriction on public information was typical of thetothAct nor any other legislation contains a test for what is the publicinterest. Other safeguards of unspecified Amerindian rights are in theRegulations (1974) to the State Lands Act (cap. 62:01,1972) and inthe Forests Act cap. 67:01, 2009, section 5 (2) (e). Insistence by Amerindians on the consistent application of FPICin dealings with government agencies, miners and the courts ofjustice would need to be paralleled by training of judges andlawyers as well as of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs(formerly the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs before 2015), whohave not shown in the last five years that they understand NativeTitle or the rights that flow from such title. Amerindiansnegotiating co-management rights from Native Title overcustomary and titled lands would be consistent with theimplementation of the national policy of integrated land useplanning, as proposed in the strategic plan for the Ministry ofNatural Resources and the Environment (GLSC, 2013).12.3. Sovereign wealth fundgold and other minerals as non-renewable resources which arepublic assets are valued fiscally only in terms of the primitive levyof royalty. It is arbitrary that a royalty of currently 5% is levied onthe gold declared and sold to the Guyana Gold Board, the soleauthorised buyer, by miners or by gold dealers in the hinterlandwho are licensed by the Gold Board. The sale price is set at theLondon bullion market rate which is fixed twice a day. The saleprice in Guyana apparently assumes bullion-grade purity, 99.5 percent. The 5 per cent rate applies when the gold price is above US$285 per Troy ounce.In addition a tax of 2 per cent is levied on the gold sale price inlieu of income tax for small- and medium-scale miners.Corporations pay 35 per cent on taxable income. In November2014, miners were claiming that the break-even price was US$1400/ounce. If miners can show a tax identification number (TIN)and that their taxes are paid up to date, they may be eligible for avariety of fiscal concessions through the government investmentagency GO-Invest (http://goinvest.gov.gy/sectors/mining/). Whenthe gold price is significantly higher than the break-evenprice, as itwas during 2011–2013, the excess profit is captured almost entirelyby theminers and the landlord rentiers (who demand traditionallya tribute of around 10 per cent paid in raw gold and enforced byarmed ‘rangers’). Brazilian miners working in Guyana, allegedlyoftenwithoutwork permits, may be charged around 20 per cent bythe rentiers.An excess profit of some US$ 200/ounce was being obtainedduring the three years 2011–2013 of high gold prices. TheGovernment could have taken the opportunity to configure asovereign wealth fund from an extra tax on excess profits. In thiscase, taking a conventional 50/50 split of the excess profit, asovereign wealth levy could have raised 50 per cent of US$ 200/ounce1.3 million Troy ounces =US$ 128 million. And this is notcounting the 15,000 ounces per week which the Government hasestimated is smuggled out of Guyana (Section 5 above).12.4. Preventing insider tradingthe current (late 2015/early 2016) forensic audit of the GGMC,gether with Walrond et al.’s management and systems review ofSummary of payments made to Wayne Vieira by StrataGold9 0001 April-31 0001 January- 000-om the signing date – 250,000 common 82,629oommBoyBridBulBulBulBulBulBulBulBulCI-CChaClifColColDalDooForForForForFor[344_TD$DIFF]AmGasGGMGGMGGMGildJ. Bulkan, J. Palmer / The Extractive Industries and Society 3 (2016) 676–689 687ReferencesAP—Associated Press. (2012, January 25). Guyana to target corruption amid goldmine boom. Associated Press. Retrieved from http://news.yahoo.com/guyana-target-corruption-amid-gold-mine-boom-171841897.html.APA—Amerindian Peoples Association. (2015, April 21). Re: Vital REDD+ Readinessactivities still not carried out satisfactorily in Guyana. Retrieved from https://Total 104,420Jun-06 24 months frowarrants issuethe signing date – 100,000 share purchadse 59,800warrants issuethe signing date – 100,000 share purchad04 warrants issue05-Jun 12 months froagreement – 200,000 share purchasedse 18,700Payments in p10-Jun- on signing theurchase warrants25,920Total 426,68707 shares issuedm the signing date – 100,000 commonJun-06 24 months frshares issued04-Jul- 36 months fr 62,62305-Jun 12 months frshares issuedm the signing date – 150,000 common 219,93504 issued10-Jun- on signing the agreement – 300,000 common shares 61,500Payments in common sharesTotal 1,565,0001 January31-Aug-1131 July 2011 $6000/month 72,cash payment 90,000Decemb31er 2010$6000/month 72,0002009December $6000/month 54,26-Mar-0 on signing of the Amendment to theAgreement27,AgreementJul-08 12 months from the Amendment to the 250,000Jun-06 24 months from the signing date of theagreement150,00004-Jul-07 on signing of the Amendment to theAgreement250,000Dec-05 18 months from the signing date of theagreement150,00005-Jun 12 months from the signing date of theagreement150six months from the signing date of theagreement150,00010-Jun-0Dec-04pay4 on signing the agreement 150,000,000Date Item cashmentsGuyana Inc. 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