…questions method of licence renewal…Ministry urges miners to be “patient”Far from being placated by the Government’s stance on the issue, the Rupununi Mining Association is demanding answers on the Romanex mining controversy and the Marudi Mountain dispute.According to the Association, the Government is not taking the livelihood of thousands of persons seriously.Flashback: Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman with the miners during an outreachAssociation President Marlon Johnson said the group was “distraught” at the statements attributed to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, when he had described the matter as one under the Natural Resources Ministry.“There are a few issues that we would like to bring to the forefront. In the first place why was Romanex license suspended? If there was an ongoing issue, why or how was their license renewed? Has the Government received any royalties and taxes since Romanex started operating?” He questioned in a missive on Tuesday.“If the Government knew they were not giving us the small miners any access to the mountains to work, why didn’t they say so in the beginning, why are they giving us false hope and prolonging the situation?” the executive also questioned.According to Johnson, the Association needed answers and could no longer wait for talks “intend(ed) to frustrate us even more” to be completed. Johnson argued that his membership was in a desperate situation and needed an immediate resolution.MediationMeanwhile, the Natural Resources Ministry in a press statement acknowledged the concerns expressed over the weekend by the Mining Association. It claimed that it was working to arrive at a solution.The Ministry also called on the miners to exercise patience, reminding them that during a September 8, 2017 meeting the miners had been informed that preference would be given to those who were cooperating.“Finally, we ask that miners prospect the lands allocated before pronouncing on the geological viability of those lands, in the spirit of the agreement they signed in 2016. For its part, the Ministry will ensure that the GGMC supports the process of prospecting the lands to ascertain geological viability and will also be engaging miners shortly to discuss and agree on a way forward.”Since July 2016, residents have been complaining of a breach in the agreement. The concerns were raised by residents with Minister within the Natural Resources Ministry, Simona Broomes during an outreach to the South Rupununi.Broomes had met with 200 residents and said they informed her that the situation had worsened since they signed an agreement to resolve the issue with Romanex.The controversy was sparked when the company sought the removal of the miners from the area in order to conduct an Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) before beginning large-scale mining.A 19-month standoff then ensued between the miners and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), before finally being resolved with several mining blocks recently being earmarked for miners in the Marudi area in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).