Sat | Jun 23, 2018

Noranda mining licences said unaffected by new Cockpit boundaries

Published:Wednesday | January 10, 2018 | 12:02 AM

Noranda Jamaica's mining operations have not been impacted by the expansion of the protected areas of the Cockpit Country, according to the state-operated Mines & Geology Division.

One of the licences available to the bauxite company does include lands that are now included in the redrawn Cockpit Country boundaries, the agency said, but it also noted that New Day, the managing partner for Noranda, never reactivated that licence after taking control of the operation in September 2016.

New Day became a 49 per cent owner in Noranda Jamaica in the third quarter of 2016, when it acquired the holdings from bankrupt company Noranda Aluminium Holding Corporation. The Jamaican Government owns the other 51 per cent.

Prior to sale of the company to New Day, the mining leases held by Noranda were Special Mining Lease No. 165, which encompasses 177 square kilometres (68 square miles) south of Brown's Town in St Ann; and Special Exclusive Prospecting Licence No. 578 covering 136 square kilometres (52 square miles) in western St Ann and Trelawny.

"SEPL 578 would have been affected but is not valid as no renewal application has been filed since it expired on June 16, 2016," said the Mines Division via email.

But the agency also said an additional mining lease - SML 172 - was issued to New Day to mine bauxite in areas of western St Ann for five years, dating from May 16, 2017.

"SML 172 covers a small area that was part of SEPL 578 - the north-eastern section - an area of 11.79 square kilometres," agency said. Overall, Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners II has two valid instruments - namely SML 165 and SML 172 in the parish of St Ann."

Noranda has an initial 25-year renewable lease with the Government of Jamaica, starting in 2016. New Day last reported that the plant was producing 2.6 million tonnes per annum, but had the capacity to ramp up to 5.2 million tonnes.

No comments were forthcoming from New Day on the new information from the Mines Division up to press time.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com