Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2022. 4:07 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The Gales Point Manatee Village Council is calling on Belizeans to support the preservation of the ecological diversity of the community by signing a petition aimed at ensuring that the company Vulcan Materials can not conduct strip mining activities in the area.
The council has set out to gather 5,000 signatures with urgency, as the company is making strides towards getting the necessary approval to begin mining. The council explained that Vulcan Materials operating in Belize as Caracol Holdings has a contingency contract to purchase over 14,000 acres from White Ridge Farms, in an area located between two existing reserve areas: Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary and the Manatee Forrest Reserve.
The council stresses that this area is home to over 100 species of birds, all of Belize’s National Symbols including Baird’s Tapir, Keel Billed Toucan, Mahogany, Black Orchid as well as every species of wild cat endemic to Belize. The shoreline in question is part of the largest Sea Turtle nesting grounds in the region.
“The Environmental Impact of strip mining here would be devastation in an area where some of the world’s most critically endangered species are surviving.,” the council said.
“The operations would include a conveyor belt cutting across Sea Turtle nesting beach and dredging to allow for loading their cargo ships.”
The council added that, apart from the irreparable environmental damage, bringing mining into the area would disrupt any development that would occur naturally due to rehabilitation of the Coastal Road, and would not provide any economic benefit for the community, as locals would not qualify for the majority of the jobs that would be made available when the mine is operational.
Notably, there are reportedly other buyers interested in the area that the council says intends to build a hospital for medical tourism, which will be of little environmental impact but will bring economic gains to the community.
Those interested in supporting the council by signing the petition can do so here
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