Two businessmen are threatening legal action against the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Natural Resources Ministry, over what they claim are efforts to dispossess them of mining claims after they would have already invested money in them.
The businessmen in question are Milton Brandford and Ayudhia Narain, who are being represented by Attorney-at-Law Siand Dhurjon. In a letter addressed to GGMC Commissioner Newell Dennison and Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, they demanded the return of their land which they claims constitutes 32 mining claims.
“Identification, prospecting and related works on the lands in respect of these claims commenced in April, 2023. From then to date my clients have expended very considerable investments towards the realizing the potential of the land,” the letter stated.
“These investments were necessary to see to the mobilization of heavy equipment, the establishment of camps and the sustenance of my clients’ labour force. Boards were mounted and lines were approximately cut so as to facilitate the requisite applications at the GGMC for the said 32 claim licenses made in June, 2023.”
According to the lawyer, his clients received Notice of Verification from the GGMC and subsequently, the commission verified the claims in July 2023.
Further, it was explained that a thorough and extensive exercise was conducted by GGMC. According to the lawyer, they were informed that his clients claim licenses would be published in the gazette, to allow the public to make objections.
It was explained however that to date, GGMC has not issued any such publication or taken any steps to issue the claim license. According to the lawyer, however, his clients were entitled to work the ground in the claim until a decision is made “issuing or refusing such claim license”.
“My clients understand that at the time there may have been some view harbored by the GGMC that the lands captured under the claims were issued to a third party. However, Gazette extracts provided by my clients indicated that same were abandoned and therefore open for location since 2016.”
The lawyer explained that they have taken steps to ensure the 32 claim licenses are issued. Meetings, according to the lawyer, have been held with Minister Bharrat, Dennison and other officers of government.
“Despite these verifications, the GGMC issued an “Order to remove from a Claim Area” on July 19, seemingly based on the pretext that the clients were not allowed to work at the time of the order,” a statement on the matter said.
According to the businessmen, an order was issued by the ministry on August 8 but retroactive to March 15, 2022, which prohibited mining within the claims.
The businessmen, through their lawyer, are seeking the withdrawal of GGMC’s removal order, with the view of being able to work the claim. According to them, failure to comply with this will see the matter being taken to court.
When contacted by this publication, GGMC Commissioner Dennison declined to comment.