Gold has historically been a most sought after mineral due to its multidimensional uses. More recently, for example, since the 1980s the increased demand for gold on the international market as a store of value and security against inflation, has led to a dramatic increase in gold-mining activities in many developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America as governments through various incentive schemes actively encouraged investment in the sector to promote economic growth in their economies.
Within Guyana, the gold mining sector remains pivotal to the country’s economic development. For example, between 2007 and 2009, the sector experienced a 25.9% increase in output due in large part to buoyant gold prices that reached more than US$1,000 per ounce (GGMC, 2009). Additionally, as Figure 1 below indicates the sector remains an important export earner, accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s foreign exchange in 2008. At the same time, it employs in excess of 14,000 persons directly and another 1,000 indirectly. Moreover, the multipliers in the form of support to commerce, services such as transport and government revenue in the form of royalties and licences are immense (Bynoe, 2009).