JIS News

Development Minister, Dr. Paul Robertson is to make a full submission to Cabinet in two weeks, addressing concerns put forward by the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) and the Bauxite Land Management Committee (BLMC) regarding the problem of squatting, illegal subdivision and the take-over and utilization of bauxitic lands by other government agencies, all of which the JBI and the BMLC say reduce the availability of ore for future mining operations.
Opening the 2004/05 sectoral debate in Gordon House yesterday (May 11), Dr. Robertson said following his submission to Cabinet, he would also make a full report to the House of Representatives on the matter.
He pointed out that bauxite soils covered some 30 per cent of the island’s land surface with at least 70 per cent located in the populated areas of Manchester and St. Ann and because of this, there was a serious challenge for all involved as there was competition for land between mining companies and persons who needed land for agriculture, housing and other uses which affected their basic existence.
“Unless we meet these challenges, there is a real threat to the future of the industry. Bauxite lands therefore must be prudently managed and protected as part of Jamaica’s overall reserves management programme,” the Minister stated.
To this end, he informed, the JBI and the BMLC had submitted a proposal asking Cabinet to consider the approval and endorsement of the actions necessary to give effect to the work and recommendations of the committee and for effective management of bauxite bearing lands.
The proposal also seeks the collaboration of the office of the Cabinet (Development), the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, the bauxite companies, and other government ministries and departments in securing the future of the industry.