Jamaica’s Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague said last week that his ministry has directed bauxite miners to tackle the issue of dust that neighboring communities say has become a nuisance.
Montague raised the issue in the course of talks his office has been conducting with bauxite and alumina firms on a wide range of topics, the most recent being last Thursday’s meeting with Jiuquan Iron and Steel (Group) Co Ltd (JISCO) regarding several environmental subjects.
The minister relayed to domestic media that JISCO has in place a sprinkler system designed to limit dust in mining areas. JISCO also informed him that the firm is in the midst of purchasing a water cannon for a similar purpose.
In addition to water systems, JISCO informed Montague that it is employing a temporary geo-synthetic fabric over about 32 acres of its red-mud disposal area to prevent the spread of dust, which Montague praised but acknowledged as just a first step to a more permanent solution.
JISCO’s predecessors Alpart supplied piped and trucked water to communities around bauxite operations, but Montague noted the fact that his office has mandated a less costly and more viable solution be found.
Montague’s ministry reiterated its commitment to both the people of Jamaica and the miners and refiners of the island’s bauxite and alumina operations, as the safe and efficient mining and refining of bauxite represents a major portion of Jamaica’s economy.