MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Jamaica: concern rises over bauxite mining

Published by MAC on 2019-07-27
Source: Jamaica Gleaner

Little publicised is Jamaica's role as a source of bauxite - the principle raw ingredient of aluminum.

Nor has much been widely broadcast of late about one of Canada's historically renowned mining companies, Noranda.

Now, the latter is clashing with local people in its exploitation of the former.

JET Concerned About Bauxite Mining Near Cockpit Country Boundary

Jamaica Gleaner

30 May 2019

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) says it is growing “increasingly
alarmed” at the activities of bauxite mining companies near the
designated Cockpit Country Protected Area boundary.

According to Suzanne Stanley, Chief Executive Officer of JET, bauxite
mining is expanding in Cockpit Country communities in St Ann and
Trelawny which have been left out of the protected area.

“The absence of information from the government and these bauxite
companies operating near the CCPA boundary has made what is already a
bad situation, worse,” Stanley said in a statement today.

She said that residents of Gibraltar, Madras, Barnstaple in St Ann
reported that they have observed the rapid expansion of the activities
of the mining company Noranda Bauxite (New Day Aluminum) in their area
over the last year.

She argued that bauxite mining is not only degrading their land and
displacing residents, but that dust from the mining operations is also
increasingly threatening their health and polluting their water supply.

The environment lobby group said that it has also received reports from
Cockpit Country communities in Trelawny including Alps, Sawyers and
Ulster Spring where Noranda is reportedly seeking a new bauxite mining
lease.

According to JET, that mining lease will allow Noranda to mine bauxite
right up to the edge of the cockpit country boundary.

JET bemoaned that repeated efforts to get information from government
agencies on the cockpit country boundary and bauxite mining near the
protected area have produced little results.

It said its September 2018 request for a copy of the agreement between
the GOJ and Noranda from the Ministry of Transport and Mining using the
Access to Information (ATI) Act has received no response.

Further, the lobby group said that the decision of the ATI Tribunal is
also still pending on its May 31, 2018, appeal regarding the Forestry
Department’s failure to provide access to files used to create maps of
the boundary.

These maps, it said, were presented in Parliament by Prime Minister
Andrew Holness during his November 2017 announcement of the Cockpit
Country boundary.

“The citizens of Jamaica deserve an explanation from the government
about what is happening on the ground in Cockpit Country.

“It appears that little progress has been made towards protecting the
Cockpit Country under Jamaican law, meanwhile bauxite mining is moving
ever closer to the protected area boundary and threatening the welfare
and livelihoods of surrounding communities,” said Stanley.

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