The JBI works closely with the office of the Commissioner of Mines in ensuring that land disturbed for bauxite mining is satisfactorily restored and certified. The ultimate responsibility for bauxite land reclamation rests with the Commissioner of Mines, in accordance with the country’s Mining Regulations.
The Bauxite Lands Division of the JBI implements planning and research programmes to facilitate the optimal utilization of mined-out bauxite lands. The JBI’s objectives regarding reclamation and the use of mined out lands include:
- Reducing the backlog of unreclaimed lands
- Effectively increasing the area of mined out lands under commercial agriculture
- Making more lands accessible to more small farmers
- Making mined out lands available to meet the high demand for housing and other non-agricultural uses.
- Minimizing the aesthetically unpleasant appearance of unreclaimed lands.
Restoring Mined-Out Bauxite Land
Bauxite in Jamaica occurs primarily in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St. Ann and St. Catherine. Approximately thirteen million tonnes are mined each year.
As part of its mandate, the JBI manages the use of bauxite land in both the pre-mining and post-mining stage and together with the Commissioner of Mines ensures that pre-mining, mining and post-mining activities take place in sync with consistent environmental management practices.
Changes in Regulations
In 2004 the Regulations of the Mining Act were amended to encourage timely restoration of mined-out bauxite lands. These changes include the introduction of a time frame of two years by which reclamation exercises must be completed and an increase in the penalty fees of US$25,000 per hectare if the mined-out area is not reclaimed within two years. The companies have schedules for restoration in keeping with the new regulation and are required to reclaim any backlog they may have by 2011.