Noranda employees, contractors demonstrate against 'fake information'

Monday, September 16, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Just over 200 people linked to Noranda Bauxite Companystaged a demonstration outside the entrance to Jamaica Environmental Trust (JET) this afternoon, against activists opposing mining outside the Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA).

The protestors said that they were demonstrating against 'fake information” which they claimed is being spread by individuals and institutions opposed to Noranda Bauxite mining anywhere in Jamaica.

They said that closing down Noranda would mean the loss of approximately 1,000 jobs as well as some 4,000 other wage earnings opportunities linked to those operations.

The group also suggested that the anti-mining sentiments were part of an effort to obstruct Noranda from mining in Jamaica.

“We want a balanced approach, and when we say a balanced approach, look at all the situations. Sit down with the mining company, [look at] the regulations and put the right things in place, so that everybody has an understanding of what we are about,” one employee of the company suggested.

“We are not about mashing up Jamaica. We live here… We are nowhere near the Maroons' lands and we have no intention of going there, for many reasons, including that the quality of bauxite that is there is not viable. The total availability of alumina is less than what I considered for bauxite,” he added.

“Truth is, Noranda is not mining in the Cockpit Country nor does Noranda intend to mine in the Cockpit Country,” another worker insisted.

That worker pointed out that not all the demonstrators were directly employed to Noranda, as some were contractors or members of the affected communities, as well as employees.

“But, everybody who is here today would be affected by no mining, and we want to give a voice and show that we are concerned about no mining in Jamaica,” he added.

He also noted that the river sources in the Cockpit Country are all within the protected area.

The demonstrators, who were mostly from Noranda's plant and shipping facility in Discovery Bay, the property offices in Brown's Town and Alexandria, and the mining complex at Water Valley in the Dry Harbour Mountains of St Ann, carried placards which read among other things:

“Noranda has donated lands for schools”; “Noranda assists communities in the mining areas”; “”Noranda is not mining in the Cockpit Country”; Noranda Supports Farmers in the Cockpit Country”; “The Protected Area is almost 10 per cent of Jamaica”; “The mining area is very far from Maroon Town and Accompong”; “There is no Maroon Community the in the mining area”.

They said that they will continue demonstrating until their voices are heard.

Balford Henry


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