Revisiting Bartica during the COVID -19 pandemic

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Stone Quarry, Region 7

The unprecedented state of emergency caused by COVID-19 has impacted the operating environment of the Agency. During 2020, many of the compliance audits and site inspections were stalled within the COVID-19 hotspots and geographic regions, within which the majority of authorised mining operations exist. Audits of quarry operations, for example, within the Bartica Triangle were delayed until early January 2021, when the Mining Programme Area recommenced inspections and regularization of the operation processes and environmental management.

On February 19, 2021, officers visited Four Quarries, one operational and three proposed sites. The officers, while adhering to the COVID-19 protocols, were able to audit the St Mary’s Quarry situated on the left bank of the Essequibo River. The team audited the various operational aspects of the quarry and are working assiduously with the company to meet improved environmental management practices and mine control. It is the aim of the Mining Unit to boost monitoring efforts across these Quarry Licenses, to ensure the Agency’s directives and recommendations are implemented. Although the pandemic may have impeded regular monitoring exercises, the Unit will advance its mandate under recommended protocols and guidelines, thereby ensuring that environmental breaches are minimized.