KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Transport and Mining, Audley Shaw, said the Government is committed to ensuring sustainable bauxite mining to safeguard the environment.
“I want to assure the country that even as we continue to mine for bauxite, we will pay even more attention to the environmental issues. We will make sure that we do what we have to do to protect the environment and that we have proper land reclamation so that our farmers will still be able to use our land and so on,” he said.
Shaw was addressing the opening ceremony for the Jamaica Bauxite Mining Limited (JBM) Pop-Up Museum in commemoration of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence, at the PCJ building in New Kingston on August 2.
He urged the relevant stakeholders and environmentalists to work with the Government to implement sustainable solutions.
“We can work together. I want to say to the environmentalists… let’s not be enemies because there are things we can do to improve on how we mine and how we restore our lands,” Shaw said.
Meanwhile, Shaw welcomed the pop-up museum, noting that it chronicles the history of the bauxite industry that commenced with Jamaica’s first shipment on June 5, 1952.
“This is a good gesture because sometimes, we have a tendency to forget where we are coming from. We have a tendency to forget the things that have assisted us in the past,” he said.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr Norman Dunn, noted that the bauxite industry has contributed to the development of the nation.
“The bauxite and the associated benefits that we have accrued as a result of this particular ore in Jamaica would have allowed us the financial latitude to enhance our development,” he said.
The four-day pop up heritage museum highlights 70 years of bauxite in Jamaica and the contribution of the JBM.
The exhibit will be permanently displayed at Lydford in St Ann, where the JBM’s main activities are concentrated.
Chairman of the JBM, Norman Davis, said the display provides a snippet of the history of the industry and embodies the theme for this year’s independence celebrations: ‘Reigniting a Nation for Greatness’.
He said it also shows the “indelible contribution [JBM] has made to the development of the nation”.
Incorporated in 1975, the JBM holds 51 per cent equity, on behalf of the Government, in Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners II in Discovery Bay, St Ann.
The JBM is the custodian of more than 4,000 acres of government properties in the parish.