Saturday, 23 March 2013



Rare Find

Citizens in Central Jamaica are desperately waiting for the reopening of the two closed bauxite plants. Notwithstanding the environmental question mark, the bauxite industry is the life blood of this region of the Island.

Negotiation between The Government and the Principals of the bauxite company concerning reopening is on going. The sticking point seems to be the energy cost; Jamaicans are charged some of the highest kilo watt rates on the Planet.

Chemical laden red mud is the dangerous by product of bauxite works. World wide, this red mud is stored in ponds and is an environmental nightmare. Jamaica has set the standard for the design and use of safe red mud ponds. Though in this instance safe is relative; non- existence of any red mud lake would have been best.

Since the sixties, Jamaica has been trying to make good economical use of the red mud but without the advantage of modern technology the success of the experiments has been limited. Fast  forward to 2012: China – factory to the world – wants all the useful minerals they can get.

Japan, a nation geared to high tech manufacturing, needs a steady supply of these rare minerals to stay in the race. Early indications are that Jamaica’s red mud composition lends itself to commercially viable mining. Ground has been broken for a new pilot project. The work will be done by the University of the West Indies with technical support coming from the Japanese.

Could this be the second wind central Jamaica has been looking for? Is the Government really serious about maximizing Jamaica’s mineral wealth? All will be revealed in the coming years.