Monday 14 October, 2019

Montague hails Noranda for use of reclaimed bauxite lands for farming

Robert Montague (file photo)

Robert Montague (file photo)

Noranda Bauxite, located in St Ann, which mines and ships bauxite for metallurgical and non-metallurgical applications globally, has been hailed by Mining Minister, Robert Montague, for demonstrating that reclaimed bauxite lands are useful for farming and the storage of water.

Montague revealed, too, that like Noranda Bauxite, the ministry is committed to its ‘Life after Bauxite’ programme.

“We are committed to a programme that we call in the (mining) ministry ‘Life after Bauxite’, because… we have been mining bauxite for 60 years, (and) one day the bauxite is going to come to an end, and there has to be life after bauxite,” Montague told those gathered at Noranda Bauxite’s Agriculture Education Industry Exposition at the Port Rhodes Sports Complex in Discovery Bay, St Ann on Thursday.

‘Agriculture meets Mining’ was used as the theme of the exposition, where displays on small farming technology, agriculture models and a new aqua project, were mounted. The aim of the event was to demonstrate the importance of agriculture to the local and national economy.

In his presentation at the exposition, Montague stressed that Noranda Bauxite’s initiative of taking the reclaimed lands and transforming them into agricultural use “as much as possible”, was “so important”.

Noranda Bauxite has also been aiding with the storage of water in many rural St Ann communities. According to Montague, mined-out pits are now being used as reservoirs.

“We are also using some of the mined-out pits as water reservoirs, because there are many communities that suffer from a shortage of water, and Jamaica don’t have a shortage of water. What we have is a shortage of storing and distributing water, because we have enough water... Noranda is leading on that in terms of using the lining of the pits and having them filled with water, and I want to congratulate Noranda on that,” Montague said.

He further disclosed that Noranda Bauxite was also demonstrating to “the community and the world” that “not only can they store water in the mined-out pits”, but “with greenhouse technology”, individuals can have a viable business.

JC Hutchinson... hailed the levels of agricultural productivity on reclaimed bauxite lands in St Ann. (file photo)

Meanwhile, Minister without portfolio in the Agriculture Ministry, JC Hutchinson, in his address at Thursday’s exposition, expressed satisfaction with the crops that are being grown from the reclaimed bauxite lands now being used for farming.

“It is wonderful to see the products that are coming from these mined-out lands, and I must say that when I see some of them there, they are rivalling the products that are coming from South St Elizabeth, especially the red peas, scallions and thyme…,” said Hutchinson.

The minister pledged to the farmers that one of the crops being grown on the mined-out bauxite lands - red peas - would be purchased by the Government in an effort to reduce the importation of red peas.

“… And I just made a promise that whatever red peas you can produce here, the ministry is prepared to buy it, and we want to spread that red peas throughout the rest of the island, because we are going to be promoting (the) Portland red (peas) and the round red (peas) and the Miss Kelly (red peas), because the amount of red peas we are importing at this point in time, we want to cut out every single ounce that is being imported,” Hutchinson announced.

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