In a statement today, prime minister Holness the government examined several factors, including how the NRCA arrived at its decision, land management and use, mitigation measures to prevent or reduce environmental and health hazards, the regulatory and enforcement capacity of the regulator, and the specific development proposal of the applicant.
Holness said “given concerns raised in the public domain, we have ensured that a robust and transparent process was engaged in making this determination.
“We understand and appreciate, and are sensitive to all the issues involved and believe we have found a sustainable solution to preserve and protect our environment while at the same time pursuing our economic and social well-being.”
According to the prime minister, “Bengal Development Limited is directed to restore the land, replant trees and engage in other activities that would protect and improve environmental management, and establish wide buffer zones, among the over 70 conditions that have been imposed on them.”
“It was therefore concluded that the measures put in place would mitigate for impact on species biodiversity for the area and ensure greater management of the total acreage,” the statement noted.
According to the prime minister, “mining has only been permitted on the disturbed marginal areas of the land which already has been mined and amounts to approximately 20% of the total area applied for.
“The remaining 80% of the 572 acres will continue to be untouched and form part of the forested cluster in the parish. The developers are required to obtain a mining licence from the Mines and Geology Division,” Holness said.
The Opposition People’s National Party Spokesperson on Land and Housing - Senator Sophia Frazer-Binns, had called on the government to rescind the Ministerial order which overrides the decision of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) not to grant mining/ quarrying permission in Dry Harbour Mountain in Discovery Bay, St. Ann.
She said the government had ignored numerous objections and appeals from residents and stakeholders as well as a comprehensive and compelling Environmental Impact Assessment showing the irreparable damage that will occur.
Senator Frazer- Binns said with these concerns, coupled with objections from State Agencies, the Government was irresponsible and erred in its use of the Ministerial powers under the NRCA Act in granting permission to Bengal Development Limited / Jamaica World LLC to mine and quarry bauxite, peat, sand and minerals.
“Bengals obligation to pay a J$40 million environmental performance bond, the projected J$635 million Government earning in taxes and the positive impact on employment cannot offset the lasting ecological, hydrological and biodiversity damage to the area,” Senator Frazer-Binns pointed out.
- Countries: Jamaica
- JAMAICA | Youth Council wants Gov't Commitment to Environmental sustainability
- JAMAICA | PNP wants Gov't to rescind mining permit in Dry Harbour Mountains
- JAMAICA | Embattled JC Hutchinson removed from Agriculture, Replaced by Leslie Campbell
- JAMAICA | Tablets for Teachers Programme gets Underway
- JAMAICA | Did the Prime Minister Lie? Dr. Phillips Sets Record Straight !!