The JBI has always been intimately involved in ensuring that sound environmental standards are developed and maintained within the bauxite/alumina industry. With the passing of the Natural Resources Conservation Act in 1991, all agencies concerned with environmental issues are required to consult the National Environment and Planning Agency – of which the the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) is a component agency – before making any determination with respect to environmental management issues.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the JBI and the NRCA in April 1994, which acknowledged the role played by the JBI, and delegated to the JBI responsibility for the environmental management of the bauxite/alumina industry, and the monitoring of the impacts of the local industry on the environment. The JBI mandate now includes:
- Environmental monitoring and reporting.
- Assessment of new plants expansion or modification of existing plants, introduction of new process technology, and waste disposal.
- Monitoring of environmental permits, licences and approvals relating to the bauxite and alumina industry
- Investigation of spills and accidents.
- Community relations and public education
- Closure planning of the bauxite residue disposal areas.
The JBI Environmental Monitoring Programme includes:
- Independent sampling of total suspended particulate (TSP).
- Verification checks of pH and sodium concentration at various water quality monitoring points agreed to by the Water Resources Authority.
- Regular site visits to alumina plants, bauxite mines, and port facilities.
- Quarterly and annual environmental reviews of all bauxite/alumina operations.
- Review of environmental monitoring data and technical reports submitted by the bauxite/alumina companies and making recommendations for improvement.
The Unit is also actively involved in the formulation of national standards and regulations through its participation in NRCA Standards Sub-Committees.