Noranda, Government Partners to Make Bauxite-Mind Lands Fertile Again in Jamaica

Greenhouse farms are popping up on areas formerly used for mining in Jamaica, as Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry observed as he toured one in St. Ann Parish.

Accompanied by executive director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) Parris Lyew-Ayee and managing director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Omar Sweeney, Henry toured the greenhouse farm being developed by Noranda on mined-out bauxite land. Noranda’s General Manger Antoine Liddell led the delegation on a tour of the facilities. The facilities at St. Ann are the product of a partnership of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and Noranda Bauxite at Watt Town and Tobolski. Another such complex is planned at Nine Mile, in the vicinity of Bob Marley’s Mausoleum.

The partnership is part of a project intended to encourage local farmers to boost production by utilizing greenhouse methods on mined-out land. The project began last year with a goal of building 160 such installations; sixty have been built so far. The Executive Director of JBI says that the two facilities Henry toured have produced 45,000 lbs. of sweet peppers and tomatoes over approximately two months of planting, which is primarily for sale to local hotels. He also explained that the initiative built water catchment areas able to trap up to 25 million gallons and provide same to the greenhouse clusters in the parish. The entire project is estimated to cost US$1.9 million, with US$1.4 million coming from the JSIF and US$490,000 from the JBI.

Henry indicated that he was satisfied with the progress thus far, and that his focus as minister would continue to be ensuring that farmers received as much as possible from bauxite-mined lands.

“In that regard,” he said, “I want to congratulate Noranda on their accelerated land titling policy. They are one of our leading companies in this field and I encourage the others to follow.”

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