June 30, 2022

INFO 10

THE TRUTH IN BLACK AND WHITE

Linden residents raise environmental concerns about bauxite mining with US Embassy’s team

Photo collage showing 1- a resident’s discoloured bathroom from bauxite dust, 2- the contaminated Kara Kara creek that residents use for drinking and other domestic purposes, 3- dust filled discolored tailings pond water and , 4- broken furniture as a result of the vibrations from the mine

During a recent visit to several communities in South and Central Mackenzie, Linden, by a US Embassy’s Civil Affairs team, residents raised a number of environmental concerns, which are affecting their health and destroying their homes. The concerns ranged from dust pollution, noise pollution, pollution of the Kara Kara Creek, the destruction of roads and other public infrastructure from heavy duty trucks, amongst other things. One resident, Kenrick Glasgow of Constabulary Compound-Mckenzie Linden, said he may have to relocate as he continues to suffer from the pollution. Glasgow told the Civil Affairs team, that he had sent complaints to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explaining the infrastructure damage he experiences from the current bauxite mining operation.  The company now managing the bauxite plant in Linden is BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana. “Mr. Glasgow identified infrastructure damage to his bathroom and items in his home that have been broken due to the vibrations from the mine. Items such as a glass window on the wall divider. Mr. Glasgow stated his neighbors have the same issues but no one addresses the issues due to actions not being pursued. He stated he may have to relocate after living in his home for 20 years.” the report stated.

The residents believe that the company does not invest in environmental protection practices. These were reiterated by residents of Kara Kara, Industrial Area, Noitdegacht and other communities in South Mackenzie. They complained that their yards and homes are flooded with murkey, bacteria contaminated creek water. Presently there is visible residue in the Kara Kara creek from bauxite mining operations. The creek is normally used for domestic purposes by residents in Kara Kara and other surrounding communities. Given the economic situation of the community, access to potable water is difficult hence they use bleach to try and clean the water. “But when they don’t have bleach available, they drink the water straight from the creek. The people of Kara Kara say they are below poverty and cannot afford to use the water company,” the report noted.

In 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), had imposed a $1 M fine on BOSAI and had halted the company’s operation, after an investigation found the company culpable of discharging waste water into the creek.

Noitdegacht Resident-Gavin Marshall told the team that he continues to be affected by bauxite mining in the community and is calling on the relevant authorities to do detailed inspections on the company’s operations. “Once Bosai Mining Group took over operations the dust and flooding from the mine have been an ongoing issue,” he said. “The tailings pond is supposed to suck up nasty contaminated water and push out clear water. But after Bosai Mining Group took over there has been significant runoff of discolored water going directly in the residents’ backyard and home,” he said.

The residents are calling into the relevant authorities to look into the claims.

(This story was edited from a published version in the Kaieteur News written by the same author)