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Jul 13, 2004

Gov’t bans river mining at Frank’s Eddy

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On July second reporter Patrick Jones visited a stretch of the Cave’s Branch River near Frank’s Eddy, where villagers had complained that quarrying activities in the waterway posed a major threat to their growing ecotourism business. Today it appears that Belmopan has listened to their concerns and acted to safeguard the ecological health of the area. In a press release issued today, Inspector of Mines Evadne Wade reports that after meeting with villagers and conducting a technical investigation, the Department of Geology and Petroleum submitted a report to the Minister of Natural Resources. As a result, Minister Johnny Briceno has ordered that gravel mining in the area be halted. Specifically, quarry permit holder Orlando Waight was told to wind up his operations by July sixteenth, taking care to remove the access road he had created in the middle of the stream and not excavate more than eighteen inches deep. Briceno further specified that extraction of any materials from the river be suspended for a minimum of three years, with annual assessment by the Geology Department to determine the influence of natural factors on the river’s condition. Residents had complained that the mining lowered the level of the water, making tubing more difficult and created unsightly silting as well as erosion of the banks.

The process with which the problem was solved could be considered a model for future disputes. The community action, led by village Chairman Hilaro Mes, was well organized and well reasoned, while Government’s response was relatively quick, technically sound and carried out within existing regulations.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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