Gleaner/Power 106 News
NEPA gives OK to rare earth minerals application

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says it is satisfied the necessary due diligence was taken before permission was granted to the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), for a feasibility study for the proposed extraction of rare earth elements from mining residues or red mud.

Chief Executive Officer of NEPA, Peter Knight, told the Gleaner/Power 106 News Center that his organisation is satisfied that the application made by the JBI addressed all environmental concerns.

While not disclosing details, Knight said conditions have been imposed to ensure the company carrying out the research does not commit any environmental breaches.

Knight said specific instructions have also been given to guide the JBI in how it proceeds.

Last Tuesday mining Minister, Phillip Paulwell announced that the government would be pursuing the pilot project which it hopes will be a lucrative venture for the country.

However, one lobby group, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has expressed concern about the project's location at Hope Gardens.

It has questioned whether sufficient controls have been put in place to prevent any likely negative impact on neighboring commercial and residential communities.

The group says it would also have preferred if the facility was located close to the red mud lakes, to avoid the transportation of red mud across the island.

And it has called for an urgent public meeting to discuss its concerns.

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