Peter Knight, Chief Executive Officer of NEPA
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is to suspend Windalco's environmental permit and draw down on the full amount of its environmental performance bond following last week's pollution of the Rio Cobre in St. Catherine.
NEPA will be meeting with UC Rusal/Windalco on Monday regarding the penalties.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Peter Knight, Chief Executive Officer of NEPA, confirmed that Windalco's bauxite refinery in Ewarton is the source of the pollution and contaminants that impacted the Rio Cobre.
He said the river was contaminated with thousands of litres of harmful trade effluent.
Windalco has been given deadlines to implement several corrective measures, including immediately reducing the volume of trade effluent being held at its effluent holding plant.
It must also fast-track the completion of an effluent holding pond, replenish the environmental performance bond to the previous amount and restrict the operationalisation of existing environmental permits for mining operations at Special Mining Lease (SML) 162 and SML 174 until the holding pond is completed and commissioned.
NEPA says it will draw down on the full amount of Windalco's environmental performance bond, which is valued at more than US$771,000. The money will go to the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA).
Mr. Knight, who was speaking at a media briefing Friday afternoon, warned that "effective today" NEPA will be more aggressive in the clampdown on any entity or individual "found in breach of permits and licences or those taking actions we consider deleterious to the environment and good environmental management and stewardship".