Noranda Bauxite’s workers want the good that the company is doing for the communities it interacts with to be more highlighted, to change the perception that the company will destroy the Cockpit Country by mining in the area.
During their protest at Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) offices on Constant Spring Road, in St. Andrew on Monday, the workers, who were joined by a few community members, complained that the stories being told about Noranda have been lies and propaganda.
Water catchment and greenhouses are among the philanthropic work that Noranda has done according to the workers and community members.
Alfred Henry, a mining superintendent at Noranda, speaking on behalf of the workers, said, “we are serious about the environment and we have done several things that impact the environment.”
According to Henry, Noranda has spent over $10 billion in the last five years to reclaim lands that were left barren by another bauxite entity.
He said that entity left holes that Noranda had to fix, which resulted in the land being able to use by farmers for animal rearing and growing crops.
“We have built over 67 greenhouses in just the mining communities alone. We are into schools that are impacting on agriculture. We are currently building a catchment pond right now that can hold 13 million gallons of water and that will benefit the community,” Henry declared.
“We have set up a cold room facility for farmers and to tie them into the grid of the marketing systems of the hotels down on the north coast. So, Noranda has impacted many lives,” the mining superintendent added.
Winifred, a teacher from the community of Happy News, said, “When I look at Noranda in my community, we have several greenhouses provided by them.”
“They help school children, parents who cannot afford to send their children to school can go to Noranda and will get help,” Winifred argued.
One Reggae entertainer, Queen Ifrica, came to the defense of JET and called for her own support to counterprotest on Tuesday, September 17.