Mr. Speaker, we have been presented with an opportunity in our mining sector, and today I would like to share with the Parliament and the Jamaican people some details of that opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, red mud has always been both a major challenge and area of interest in the bauxite/alumina industry in Jamaica. The first area of interest is in the alumina refinery itself, where the efficient recovery of alumina from the bauxite is paramount, but an efficient system for red mud disposal is also very important for the success of the refinery, as well as to ensure the integrity of the environment. To this end, Jamaica can proudly boast that we led the way in developing the now famous dry stack mud disposal system, which was developed at the Ewarton plant in St. Catherine. This system is now used allover the world.
Much attention is still given to the engineering designs and management of the red mud disposal facilities, and we boast state-of-the-art systems, such as at Jamalco and at Ewarton, which are safe and efficient.
The next area of interest for a long time has been the extraction of the elements or minerals which are found in the red mud, and in the past, efforts in this regard have focussed on the iron content, titanium and the silicates.
Many may be aware of the very early attempts led by the late Robert Lightbourne to have the iron content extracted, but unfortunately a commercial venture was not achieved.
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