EPA inspects proposed project site for manganese mining at Matthews Ridge

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The EPA conducted an inspection of the proposed manganese mining operation at Matthews Ridge, Region One on March 03, 2021, to assess the Guyana Manganese Inc.'s compliance with approvals granted for clean-up and other preparatory works at the site.

The inspection revealed, there are still remnants of the prior operation, such as the frame of the old processing plant and stockpiles of scrap metal from the dismantling process. Additionally, the company has made strides in preparing the site for operation.

The company was required to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in order to identify the potential impacts of operation and provide proposed plans to mitigate these impacts. The EIA has been submitted and is under review by the Environmental Assessment Board (EAB), which will recommend to the EPA if the EIA should be approved.

Once the EPA approves the EIA and authorises the project, the project will be bound to implement mitigation measures outlined in the EIA and abide by the conditions of the permit issued, to safeguard the environment.

 

Prompt action by EPA results in quick clean- up of fuel spill by polluter at Whim, Berbice.

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Any incident of crude oil and its associated products, such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc. being accidentally discharged into the environment is referred to as a spill. Occurrence of a spill incident requires prompt actions to prevent environmental destruction, however the cost to clean-up a spill is usually high.

While it is common to associate oil spills with oil drilling activities, it is important to understand that spills can happen in any industry that transports, handles or stores oil and fuel. This includes but is not limited to gas stations, power plants and automobile workshops.

The Environmental Protection Agency has responded to several small-scale oil spills in the past. Most recently, on December 08, 2020, officers at the EPA office in Whim, Berbice detected and immediately responded to a spill which occurred in the village. On the said date, the officers observed that fuel from fuel storage tank at a data tower had spilled onto the surrounding grass and soil. This information was quickly communicated to the EPA Georgetown Office which resulted in a collaborative effort between the two Offices to investigation the matter.

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Insight into Industry and Waste Management at the EPA

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The Industry and Waste Management Department issued a total of nine (9) permits for the month of March, screened eleven (11) applications received for Environmental Authorisation, conducted twenty-four (24) site/monitoring and compliance inspections and investigated twelve (12) complaints.

In addition to its work on authorisations and complaints, the Industry and Waste Management Department also has a self-development and capacity-building focus for its staff. On March 16 and 17, 2021, Officers of the department, along with three other departments of the EPA, and representatives from the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development (MoLG&RD) participated in a workshop to build capacity for waste management. The workshop was a collaborative effort between the EPA and Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) and was conducted virtually due to COVID 19 restrictions.

Bringing facilities into good environmental standing is also of primary concern to the Industry and Waste Management Department. As such, meetings were held, and monitoring and compliance inspections conducted by the Department at facilities that posed a threat to the environment to bring them into environmental compliance.

 

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.