PM declares no mining will be permitted in Cockpit Country Protected Area
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that no mining will be permitted in the Cockpit Country Protected Area.
Holness made the declaration in Parliament a short while ago, weeks after the deadline for his response to a successful petition against permitting mining in the Cockpit Country Protected Area.
The Prime Minister, in making the declaration, said, however, mining and other activities may take place outside the protected area but the appropriate licenses and permits must be obtained from the relevant agencies after a “rigorous” process.
He also announced that there would be immediate changes to existing mining licences and the Mining Act to prevent such activities within the boundaries.
READ PM's FULL STATEMENNT AT: http://go-jamaica.com/pages/cockpit
Holness acknowledged that the decision not to permit mining in the Cockpit Country means the Government would be giving up millions of dollars in potential earnings, but said priority had to be given to the environment.
“We cannot put a price tag on our water resources and bio diversity,” Holness said.
Earlier, he noted that the Cockpit Country is the main water source for western parishes.
But according to Holness, mining is not the only threat to the Cockpit Country.
He said, coal production, the cutting down of trees for yam sticks and bird hunting were also potentially inimical to the eco system.
As a result, the Prime Minister said the relevant agencies will be increasing their surveillance to detect exploitation.
Five things about the Cockpit Country Protected Area
1. Covers approximately 74,726 hectares
2. Boundaries run through parts of Manchester, St Elizabeth, St James, Trelawny and St Ann
3. Provides 51 per cent of the island’s closed broad leaf forest cover
4. Source of 40 per cent of western Jamaica’s water resources
5. Home to Jamaica’s Accompong Maroons