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The Government has no plans to mine bauxite in the Cockpit Country, and the granting of a Special Exclusive Prospecting Licence (SEPL) to JAMALCo would not include such a right, Parris Lyew-Ayee, Executive Director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) has said.
Over the past few weeks there has been much controversy surrounding the application by JAMALCo for the renewal of its licence to prospect for bauxite in the vicinity of the Cockpit Country, located in the south-central part of Trelawny.Concerns have been expressed that this prospecting work would involve the building of roads in the Cockpit Country as well as the despoiling of the environment and the groundwater regime.
But Mr. Lyew-Ayee has assured that, “none of the above fears is real”. He emphasized that no roads would be built for bauxite exploration and that any prospecting work would use modern technologies, which cause no more impact than caused by the expedition of zoologists, botanists, geologists and bird watchers, who regularly go through the area.
The Executive Director flatly denied that the prospecting work would have any negative effect on the groundwater of the area.
Mr. Lyew-Ayee states that not only is there no plan to mine in the Cockpit Country but there is no imminent plan to begin bauxite mining in Trelawny, even if reserves of bauxite were to be discovered in the parish.
“If the results from the exploration work are favourable, the earliest time foreseen for any mining there, is almost 20 years from now,” he revealed. Mr Lyew-Ayee also denied reports that JAMALCo was buying lands in Trelawny in preparation for bauxite mining.
Giving a background to the whole issue of bauxite mining vis-