Bosai Minerals Group Co., China’s largest bauxite producer that is operating in Linden, is set to be fined at least another GYD$1 million, the second such fine in about one month as a breach in its tailings pond caused flooding of several houses downslope, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams said Monday.
When contacted, Adams said the company’s operations were effectively closed as it could no longer wash bauxite stockpiles. The EPA Chief said Bosai would not be allowed to resume operations until remedial works are completed by the company and approved by his agency. “We told them that they could not put anymore wastewater into that pond until the construction is completed and we have inspected it and give them approval to start back putting water into the pond,” Adams told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/Demerara Waves Online News.
At least six houses downslope were flooded after a dam surrounding the tailings pond broke away early on Thursday, January 9. Experts say the liquid potentially contains heavy metals which can harm humans. “They (residents) woke up and they stepped into deep water and the water was full of mud, the red bauxite-type mud,” he said.
The EPA Executive Director said Bosai Minerals planned to stockpile bauxite for seven days while it constructs the tailings pond.
Last month, the EPA fined Bosai GYD$1 million for discharging wastewater from the tailings pond into the Kara-Kara Creek, and subsequently ordered to close down a dyke and cease releasing water into the tailings pond until the dyke was repaired.
Adams said the EPA arrived at the amount of the fine based on a maximum fixed penalty the agency could impose according to legislation. “I wish it could be higher which is something we are going to have to work on,” he said.
Bosai paid the first fine last Friday, the same day that an EPA team was inspecting the site in connection with the second occurrence.