Tue | Sep 22, 2020

NEPA issues warning notices over sand mining in Rio Grande

Published:Tuesday | September 15, 2020 | 10:05 AM
Contributed photo

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is reporting that it has issued two site warning notices to Agro Expo Farms Limited over sand mining in the Rio Grande in Portland.

NEPA says the notices were served during a visit to the site on September 10, which require Agro Expo to cease blockage of the river immediately.

The action follows an investigation by the agency into a video circulated on social media showing two of the company’s trucks carrying out sand mining in the river.

NEPA says the company was also cited for non-compliance with certain conditions of its environmental permit, which if not addressed within 14 days, will result in legal action.

It notes that no approval was granted by the agency for the use of trucks within the river.

The agency points out that all mining and quarrying of rivers require the issuance of an official environmental permit from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA)/.NEPA.

It says Agro Expo was granted two permits by the authority in September 2019.

One permit allows for the quarrying of sand and boulders along a section of the Rio Grande in Portland located at Burlington and the other allows for the construction and operation of a mobile mineral processing facility for the washing and processing of aggregates.

This facility also received approval from the Mines & Geology Division.

“All holders of an environmental permits are expected to strictly comply with the terms and conditions of the environmental permit issued. Failure to do so may result in, among other things, revocation of the permit or prosecution,” said Morjorn Wallock, Director of the Legal and Enforcement Division at NEPA.

She continued, “It is commendable that concerned citizens used social media to bring the matter to the attention of the agency. Successful environmental protection requires active participation from all. NEPA will continue to monitor the development to ensure compliance.”

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