Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Proponents of Uranium Mining Should Look at Reviews of Uranium Mines Around the World

Dear Editor,

Some discomfort was signalled by an opinion given in a letter titled ‘Guyana should exploit its natural resources’ of April 11, 2009 in the Stabroek News.

Guyana should exploit its natural and all other resources when the conditions of such are in conformity with maintaining its pristine environment, and a feasibility study shows a sustainable life-span to the benefit of citizens and country.

If the proponents of uranium mining did some reviews of uranium mines around the world, and there are many, let them point to any which have not caused irreparable harm to people, animals, water sources, trees and land. Use the internet and look up uranium mines and we see the disaster in the Colorado Plateau and what that did. Already some have died just looking for this stuff.

While we may be aware that all sorts of minerals can be found in Guyana, and there were previous hunts for uranium, a discovery of five million tonnes hardly compares with 600 million tonnes in New Mexico. No genius is needed to see the futility of costs involving no benefit to anyone with a reward of a leaching bomb which will eventually destroy the surroundings for good.

The history of mining in the country is not much removed from the days of Sir Walter Ralegh.

Guyana will only prosper when mining and other industries are vertically integrated from raw product to finished article, minus uranium and other radioactive materials. Leave those alone. For a country that seeks to develop mining enterprises I see no administrative structure to engender such activity. The condensation of major administrative units under one head provides the results of what we see today: a lacklustre export performance and the poorest of official reporting on these matters.

Memory seems to be in short supply in Guyana; going back to the nationalization of the sugar and bauxite industries, no thought was given to competition. Owners found alternatives and other suppliers, hence the demise suffered with a consequent struggle to maintain what we have and strive to improve on that to this day.

Consequences come before comforts.

Yours faithfully,
John De Barros


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