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North Andros mining project rejected by Bahamas Investment Authority

A controversial North Andros mining project has been rejected by the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA), Guardian Business learned yesterday.

This paper saw a leaked copy of the rejection letter sent to the developers’ attorney, advising the group that their plan for the North Andros Mine and Reclamation Project (NAMR) was not approved.

“Reference is made to the application submitted on behalf of your clients, Bahamas Materials Company Limited (BMCL) and Morgan’s Bluff Development Group Limited (MBDG), requesting approval for the captioned project,” the letter said.

“I am to advise that the National Economic Council at its recent meeting refused the application to establish an inland aggregate mining operation on Crown land situated on the northern part of Andros Island.”

The letter was signed by Director of Investments Phylicia Woods-Hanna.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Copper confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but declined to comment on the project’s rejection, given the confidential nature of such negotiations between the government and investors.

The letter gave no reason for the denial of the project, but asked the developers to contact Woods-Hanna for more information.

Bahamas Materials Company Limited, headed by developer Cameron Symonette, has been seeking buy-in from Andros residents and environmental groups for years now for its North Andros mining project, which it claims would diversify that island’s economy.

Guardian Business contacted Symonette yesterday, but he declined to comment on the leaked letter.

Bahamas Materials Company was seeking government approval to mine several thousand acres on Andros for calcium carbonate, which the developers believed would inject millions into the economy.

This paper understands that the company hoped to build a community in North Andros that could become a sustainable settlement and a possible catalyst for the greater development of Andros as a load-bearing island for The Bahamas’ economy.

The government announced recently that it intends to introduce new legislation in the form of a mining act to set up a regulatory framework for the mining of natural resources, including aggregates; and ensure the sustainability of such activities.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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