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Smelter in Trinidad

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BACKGROUND

Trinidad was first colonized by the Spanish; the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands' sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. The main Caribbean producer of oil and gas, has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus. Economic growth in 2006 reached 12.6% as prices for oil, petrochemicals, and liquefied natural gas remained high, and foreign direct investment continued to grow to support expanded capacity in the energy sector. The gas and oil exploration is currently the driving force of the economy. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has decided to open two smelter plants using Liquefied Natural Gas at a subsidized price.

INTRODUCTION

The roads that wander through the southwestern peninsula of Trinidad pass small fishing villages, mangrove swamps, and coconut plantations skirt herds of buffalypso and reveal sheltered beach coves. In February 2006, Alcoa signed an agreement in principle with the Trinidad and Tobago Government to build a 341,000 metric-tons-per-year aluminum smelter and related facilities in the Chatham area. This construction plans to threaten and fundamentally alter their gentle landscape. There has been sparked criticism from local residents and environmentalists.

The other plant, Alutrint, is a partnership between the locally-based National Energy Corporation (NEC) and the Sural Group of Venezuela. It would be 60 percent owned by the government with the Venezuelan group controlling the remaining 40 percent. It would produce 125,000 metric tons of aluminum annually. The complex will occupy about 100 hectares at the Union Industrial Estate in La Brea.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The aim of this study is to:

• show the environmental effects of the aluminum smelters,

• The effects of the depletion of natural resources

• The effects of the people in these communities. How they will be affected, their poverty/unemployment levels and their feelings about this proposed development.

• To discuss reasons why Alcoa chose Trinidad and Tobago to build a smelter plant and why the government is giving the go-ahead to them.

• To understand the benefits and drawbacks of smelters operating in Trinidad.

APPROACH TO THE STUDY

• This study was carried out by doing research via the Internet and the World wide web..

• Visiting the NALIS Library and using their necessary resources, for example, files, newspaper clippings, articles and so on.

• Speaking to personnel from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).

• Face-to-face contact. This was done by interviewing residents from La Brea area orally.

• The questionnaire method: Twenty residents were given questionnaires and asked to

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