Q&A PHILLIP PAULWELL
Hon. Phillip Paulwell Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Jamaica.
How are you supporting sustainable development of the Jamaican bauxite industry? The Ministry is supporting sustainability within the bauxite and alumina sector through a range of mechanisms, including the following: 1. Mandatory rehabilitation of mined lands, consistent with the requirements of the Mining Act, Quarries Control Act and other relevant legislations, policies and guidelines, within three (3) years after mining of a pit has been completed. All companies are required to observe this stipulation, which provides for the levying of a US$2,500.00 fine for each year that a hectare of mined land remains un-rehabilitated. In addition, the Mining Act provides for a fine of US$25,000.00 per hectare to be levied on any company in the event that the GOJ is forced to rehabilitate any area left un-rehabilitated after three years. As the mentioned rates and fines associated with the rehabilitation of mined lands were set over twelve (12) years ago, there is consideration for an upward adjustment to the related costs over the period. 2. Ensuring that the companies employ appropriate technologies in managing the waste (red-mud) produced during the alumina processing operation. This includes research into the harnessing of rare earth minerals and increasing the amount of caustic soda recovered from the waste. It also includes improving the dry-stacking method employed in storing the red mud. 3. Requiring the mining companies to transition mined lands into agricultural development, forestry, and using re-profiled and lined pits for water catchment (rain water harvesting) and storage. When rain water is harvested, it is provided to farmers to facilitate increased agricultural output and to residents for domestic and other uses. 4. Funding of the Bauxite Community Development Programme (BCDP from some of the financial resources obtained from the sector. Thissupports sustainable livelihoods within bauxite-bearing and alumina-impacted communities. The BCDP provides for the provision of financial grants to support the funding of small/community-scale investment projects – agricultural, value-added agriculture, green6 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
house farming; construction , expansion, and renovation of buildings, roads and other infrastructure, including schools, community centres, health centres, hospitals, etc.; education and training; agricultural services and technology, etc. 5. General investment of the Government of Jamaica’s (GOJ) proceeds from the bauxite and alumina sector into all areas of national development to facilitate increased economic development, improved standard of livings, better infrastructure, and a reduction in the national debt. 6. Increasing the size of the country’s bauxite reserves, especially through a constant mineral exploration programme and a rigid blending regime in which rich and lower quality ores are blended to provide an acceptable feed for the plants and customers. In addition, the Ministry is employing measures to optimize the companies’ use of bauxite. How are you ensuring local communities feel the benefits of a successful mining industry? The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) is pursuing this objective in a number of ways, including: i. Ensuring that the BCDP is funded by the sector. Particularly through the ‘Community Councils’ in the bauxite mining and alumina processing areas (host communities), residents are encouraged to directly and indirectly provide products and services to the mining companies. Through the BCDP, investment projects in agriculture, agri-business, and other areas are funded so as to help provide employment for and improve the livelihood of residents. ii. Impressing upon the bauxite and alumina companies the significance of pursuing a focused policy of good social and corporate governance, which assist community development. iii. Encouraging the companies to employ competent residents from the host communities. This includes contracting local persons to provide various services, including haulage of bauxite. Local haulage contractors have employed hundreds of trucks (on-road heavy haulage units) and other pieces of equipment in