The Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, led a delegation to Andros, Friday, February 3, 2023 to address complaints of illegal mining at several locations on the central island.
Minister Miller was accompanied by Dr. Rhianna Neely-Murphy, Director, Department of Environmental Planning & Protection (DEPP), and other ministry officials.
According to a statement from the Ministry, site visits were conducted and at the first site it was confirmed that active mining was occurring without the required permit. The entity was instructed to cease the activity and to follow the regulatory process to become compliant.
The other sites visited were also of concern.
At one site what appeared to be a water table was visible from the surface; and at the other, the entrance to the well field had significant impact and loss to the pine forest as a result of the mining activity.
Following a meeting with Local Government officials to address concerns, it was determined that persons were not familiar with existing environmental regulations which govern the mining and environmental approval process.
The statement indicates that the DEPP plans to follow-up with additional site visits to bring all areas into compliance and to ensure that environmental safety is maintained.
Community meetings will also be held to familiarize residents with Environmental Planning and Protection regulations. The meetings will eventually extend to other islands, with the ultimate goal of promoting greater awareness of the Certificate of Environmental Clearance process and to encourage the protection of the environment.
From: Bahamas Information Services
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