In light of public concerns raised regarding mining in the Cockpit Country Protected Area, Prime Minister Andrew Holness invited the heads all relevant agencies to update Cabinet on matters concerning the Cockpit Country.
The Cabinet was advised by all relevant regulatory agencies that no bauxite mining is taking place in the area to be protected as the Cockpit Country (Designated) Protected Area.
The Ministry of Transport and Mining stated that:
“The Jamaica Bauxite Institute, Jamaica Bauxite Mining Limited and the Mines and Geology Division advises to the best of our knowledge, that Noranda Bauxite partners II (Noranda), is currently not involved in any mining activities in the area to be protected as the Cockpit Country. The company’s bauxite mining activities are confined to two areas (SML 172 and SML 165), which are not part of the area to be protected as the Cockpit Country.
A third area, SML173 adjoins the area to be protected but is not part of it and currently, no mining is taking place in that area. An Environmental Impact Study has been commissioned in keeping with the requirements of the licence to determine whether or not mining can be done in that area.”
The Forestry Department, which manages the forested crown lands in the area to be protected as the Cockpit Country (designated) Protected Area is currently conducting the ground truthing exercise, confirms, that:
“To date, (June 5, 2019) the Forestry Department (the ‘Agency) has completed approximately 83 Kilometres of the ground truthing for the area to be protected as the Cockpit Country. During the course of this activity, the Agency has not seen and has no knowledge of any mining taking place along the ground-truthed lines or within the general area identified for protection.”
The Water Resources Authority also confirmed that to the best of its knowledge, no bauxite mining has taken place within the proposed boundary of the area to be protected as the Cockpit Country.”
National Environment and Planning Agency also confirmed that based on “our review of satellite data and site monitoring activities spanning the months of October 2018 to May 2019, inclusive, that no bauxite mining occurred in the area to be protected as the cockpit country as defined by the Cabinet and announced in Parliament by the Most Honourable Prime Minister.”