Enforcement Action Taken For Sand Mining In The Rio Grande River

September 15, 2020

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has issued two site warning notices to Agro Expo Farms Limited following an investigation into a video circulated on social media on September 10, 2020, showing two of the company’s trucks carrying out sand mining in the Rio Grande River in the parish of Portland.

The notices were served during a visit to the site on September 10, 2020, which require Agro Expo Farms Limited to cease blockage of river way immediately. In addition, the company was cited for non-compliance with certain conditions of its environmental permit, which if not addressed within 14 days, will result in legal action being taken by the Agency.

No approval for use of trucks within the river
No approval was granted by the Agency for the use of trucks within the river. All mining and quarrying of rivers (desilting) require the issuance of an official environmental permit from the NRCA/.NEPA. These permits clearly outline the approved actions that are allowable by the permittee.

Agro Expo Farms Limited was granted two permits by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority in September 2019. One permit allows for the quarrying of sand and boulders along a section of the Rio Grande River in Portland located at Burlington and the other allows for the construction and operation of a mobile mineral processing facility for the washing and processing of aggregates. This facility also received approval from the Mines & Geology Division.

Non-compliance not tolerated
Ms Morjorn Wallock, Director of the Legal and Enforcement Division at NEPA reaffirmed, “All holders of an environmental permits are expected to strictly comply with the terms and conditions of the environmental permit issued. Failure to do so may result in, among other things, revocation of the permit or prosecution.”

She continued, “It is commendable that concerned citizens used social media to bring the matter to the attention of the Agency. Successful environmental protection requires active participation from all. NEPA will continue to monitor the development to ensure compliance.”