JIS News

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  • Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says Russian aluminium company, UC Rusal, has been given until December 31, to re-open the ALPART plant or their mining rights will be revoked.
  • The Minister noted that the Government has received commitments from interested investors about doing business in Jamaica, but said he could not divulge much on the topic.
  • Mr. Paulwell pointed out that while the local bauxite/alumina sector is expected to rebound, the manner in which business is conducted in the industry will have to change.

Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says Russian aluminium company, UC Rusal, has been given until December 31, to re-open the ALPART plant or their mining rights will be revoked.

“I met with the operators of UC Rusal this week and I reminded them that the 31st of December is fast approaching. If  they don’t re-establish the plant at ALPART by this date, their reserves will be taken away and be provided to those who are able to do so,” the Minister stated.

Mr. Paulwell was speaking at an entrepreneurship seminar, held at Neil’s Auditorium in Mandeville, on November 12.

“We do have significant resources tied up in those licences and I’m very confident that now that the industry is emerging out of the recession, those reserves are quite valuable and others would wish to utilise them in terms of production and job creation,” he said.

The Minister noted that the Government has received commitments from interested investors about doing business in Jamaica, but said he could not divulge much on the topic.

“We have received certain commitments, as we look to new industries, especially in the ICT world and I am confident that the bauxite sector will re-emerge,” he said.

Mr. Paulwell  pointed out that while the local bauxite/alumina sector is expected to rebound, the manner in which business is conducted in the industry will have to change.

“The sector will emerge with Government earning more from taxes, as we need to be earning more off the levy. We have been granting concessions over concessions; we’re going to have to stop that,” he emphasised.

Mr. Paulwell said the Government will also be insisting on a number of other changes, including environmental practices and the way mining lands are rehabilitated.

“There are available lands that have been mined out, lands that can be rehabilitated and lands that should not remain idle. I think we now need to insist that these lands are provided to the people and that they can acquire these lands to do activities such as agriculture,” he added.

“The bauxite companies will now have to move much more quickly to enable transfer of these lands to people who want the lands for productive use,” the Minister said.

In the meantime, Mr. Paulwell  said the Government is moving to declare the cockpit country a mining free zone.

“The issue that we’re working through has to do with the boundaries to properly delineate the area. But, there will come a time very soon when it will be absolutely clear that there will be no mining activity in this area,” he stressed.

Mr. Paulwell said much more care must be exercised by the mining companies, to  protect the environment. “I don’t like when I drive around the country to see these gaping holes as a result of mining activities.  The bauxite companies have a responsibility. The law that I administer requires that rehabilitation work be done,” he added.

The Minister  said in the future, Government will be insisting that mining companies make special provisions for preserving and rehabilitating mined-out lands.

“We’re going to be getting strict with the companies and insisting that where they fail to do the environmentally correct things and the required rehabilitation works, they are going to be penalised and the money will be used to replenish the lands,” he said.

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