…Stanley Ming returned as ChairmanWith Guyana preparing to enter new and uncharted waters in the extractive sector, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has had a new Board of Directors installed to steer the ship.GGMC Chairman Stanley MingAt the head of this Board is incumbent Chairman Stanley Ming. Also on the Board are Derrick Lawrence; Tom Dalgety; Euliene Watson; Vanda Radzic; Camilla Edwards; and the Commissioner of GGMC, Newell Dennison. A representative from each of the following organisations will be selected and added to the Board at a later date: the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), the Guyana Women Miners Association (GWMA), the National Mining Syndicate, the Guyana Gold Board, the Guyana Forestry Commission and a worker’s representative from the GGMC.The Board is also expected to include in its membership representatives from the National Toshaos Council (NTC), the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF), as ex officio members. The Board members will serve from March 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020.These appointments come at a time when total gold declarations for last year amounted to 613,073 ounces, which was 6.22 per cent lower than 2017 – 653,754 ounces were declared in 2017.Lowered expectationsGovernment had initially set a target of 720,000 ounces for 2017 but at the end of 2017 was only able declare 653,674 ounces, prompting Finance Minister Winston Jordan to dub the performance disappointing.An ambitious 800,000 ounces’ target was set for 2018. The foreign exchange value of exports processed on behalf of dealers and itself at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) came to US$443,961,666.The appointments come at a time when a major gold company will be branching off into underground miningIt is understood that gold dealers Mohamed’s Enterprise, and El Dorado Trading finished first and second respectively in total declarations and exports of gold. Other dealers that contributed are: Pure Diamond, Dinar, Excel, Adamantium Metals, GBTI Property Holdings Inc, and Gold Bar Development.The appointments also come at a time when Canadian owned Guyana Goldfields is looking to branch off into underground mining. Last month, Goldfields was issued a permit by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to construct the underground mine.It is currently awaiting further approvals from the GGMC. In fact, Guyana Times observed equipment assembled at the site, waiting for the go ahead, during a recent visit.So far, Guyana Goldfields has invested US$300 million into its local operations. The underground mine is expected to cost US$25 million in the initial exploration stages. A further US$100 million is likely to be invested over the next 10 years of production.RevenueBut the company is optimistic of more than recovering that investment. Chief Executive Officer of Guyana Goldfields, Scott Caldwell, had been optimistic of the underground mines surpassing their previous operations. According to Caldwell, the underground well is likely to be a game changer when it comes to revenue.When asked about the application, Commissioner Dennison explained that the GGMC is in possession of Goldfields’ application and will soon know whether anything else is needed. He had made it clear that GGMC has no intention of delaying the process, but was only exercising its due diligence for such a venture.“From what I am aware, they have submitted [the documents]. I am of the view that we are in good way to be conducting the examination to determine whether we need anything more.”“To the extent that we ascertain that what is therein is sufficient representation of what they plan to do, and it is in keeping with our regulations and what we consider typical practices for these types of activities, we would then issue the permit,” Dennison said.