JBI Addressing Issues Associated with Bauxite Operations


Minister of Information and Development, Donald Buchanan yesterday (June 5) outlined a number of priority activities, which are being undertaken to address community-related issues associated with bauxite/alumina operations.
Mr. Buchanan, who was making his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House, informed that the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) is making the requisite preparations to facilitate the implementation of the new Ambient Air Quality Regulations (2006).
He noted that the regulations and guidelines were gazetted in August of last year and that the implementation would, “rationalize and enhance the existing monitoring network and improve government regulation of the industry. The bauxite sector is geared to be in compliance with these regulations”.
He said further that risk assessment of the impact of bauxite operations on health is now being required for all major projects, where human settlement is likely to experience a significant impact. “These relate to the monitoring mechanisms and regulatory framework that are already in place or are currently being put in place to ensure a high level of environmental awareness and control over all aspects of the industry, from prospecting through processing to shipping,” he stated.
Noting the JBI’s role in monitoring environmental management practices in the industry, the Development Minister said the Institute oversees the regulatory functions on behalf of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA); participates in environmental regulation and standards development; investigates incidents and provides monitoring to prevent recurrence; and manages the impact until acceptable environmental quality is achieved.
He noted also that the JBI presents environmental awards to recognize companies’ performance in areas of compliance with environmental standards, special initiatives, community relations, and general environmental management.
The bauxite companies, in carrying out their environmental responsibilities, must ensure that they upgrade and modernize dust control equipment; expand operations in conformity with environmental requirements; and develop action plans to meet regulatory requirements.
Mr. Buchanan pointed out that both Jamalco and Windalco hold International Standards Organisation (ISO 14001) certification.

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