The mining of bauxite and the processing to alumina impacts on the air and water quality, hence the need for monitoring to ensure that certain standards are achieved.
In April 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the JBI and the NRCA, delegating responsibility for the environmental management of the bauxite/alumina industry and the monitoring of the impacts of the local industry on the environment to the JBI. Section 6 (i) of the NRCA Act provides for the delegation of any of the Authority’s functions to any member, officer or agent of the Authority.
Under this agreement, the JBI’s mandate includes pollution control initiatives, independent monitoring of the industry, community relations and public education, with regular reporting on the environmental performance of the Industry to the NEPA. This agreement was updated and again signed in 2013.
The JBI in collaboration with other relevant government agencies, such as the Water Resources Authority (WRA), the Environment Health Unit of the Ministry of Health and the NEPA, conducts regular environmental reviews at each company. At these reviews, performance data is evaluated and the sites are inspected. The main areas that are examined include:
- Environmental monitoring programmes for air emissions
- Water quality monitoring
- Waste management
- Review of environmental spills and incident.
- Action plans to identify and address areas of concern
- Update on the implementation of projects geared towards improving environmental quality
Regular site visits are also made outside of these reviews to all the various facilities including bauxite mining areas, alumina plants and ports. In addition, the JBI actively participates at monthly meetings held with various community councils within the respective locations.
Each company has an Environment Department that administers an Environmental Policy as well as a monitoring and management programme. The programmes which are designed in close consultation with the JBI include pollution control measures, monitoring and public education at the mines, processing plants, ports and transportation activities.
Monitoring includes the collection of data and as such, the companies have a ambient environmental monitoring networks around each facility. These stations are located with the agreement of the JBI and the other regulators and are usually sited in communities in the case of ambient air quality. The companies own and operate the stations, collect the data and samples according to the regulatory schedules and report the results to the JBI.
The JBI conducts verification monitoring in several areas as a check on information submitted. In addition, the JBI observes equipment calibration as well as audits the records.