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Sixty five per cent of mined out lands in the bauxite producing areas, has been put to productive use in agricultural endeavours, Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson has reported.
Speaking at a Town hall meeting on May 19, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, the Minister also revealed that less than one per cent of Jamaica’s land mass has been mined.
To encourage the productive use of mined out lands by the residents of Manchester and other bauxite communities, Mr. Robertson said that the Government will be addressing matters, such as securing land titles and support services offered by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
He further pointed out that issues affecting residents will be addressed through the existing 15 Bauxite Community Development Councils.
According to the Minister, two “energetic” young persons from his office have been assigned to work with, and assist the 15 existing Councils, including Manchester Plateau, Kirkvine Joint, Porus/Harmons, Mt. Oliphant/Victoria Town and Mile Gully.
These councils are responsible for providing the main forum for the resolution of issues arising from bauxite/alumina operations, the Minister pointed out.
Turning to the limestone industry, Mr. Robertson said Jamaica has millions of tonnes of limestone, which are of “exceptionally good quality,” and that the Ministry has been approached by the owners of six companies claiming that they have markets for some $1 billion worth of limestone export over the next five years.
“That is a huge figure and when we spell it out for you, you are going to understand that there is hope,” the Minister told the gathering.
This was the first in a series of Town Hall meetings being staged by the Government to explain the implications of the 2009/10 budget. Others are scheduled for Portmore, St.Catherine, St. James, St. Ann and St. Mary.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding headed the list of speakers at the meeting. Also participating were Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, and Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Information and Telecommunications, Hon. Daryl Vaz.