Hundreds of Brazilian miners working in the country's northern neighbor, Guyana, have reportedly formed a union to demand better treatment and to pressure Guyanese government officials to expedite work permits. After Brazil, Guyana is one of South America's oldest diamond producers, with gold miners having discovered diamonds there in 1887.
According to members of the Brazil Mining and General Association, it takes up to three years to process a $150 work permit, forcing illegal immigrants to repeatedly bribe police, reports the AP. Colin Sparman, Executive Secretary of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, said on record last week that the two groups will collaborate on key issues.
The announcement comes a week after Guyanese authorities detained nearly 100 illegal immigrants from Brazil who were working in gold mines. An estimated 10,000 Brazilians are believed to be working illegally in southern Guyana, according to the news source.
According to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme global rough diamond statistics for 2010, Guyana produced and exported 46,378 carats that year worth US$7.3 million or US$157.63 per carat. The KP registered 34 KP certificates for rough exports from Guyana in 2010.