Bauxite is the source mineral of aluminium. In Jamaica, ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America), the largest producer of aluminum in the world, has been mining bauxite since 1963, converting Jamaica in the sixth largest bauxite producer in the world, right after Australia, Guinea, Brazil, China and India.
Since 2004, ALCOA has been prospecting for bauxite in Cockpit Country, a Maroon territory located in Trelawny in the northwest of Jamaica. The company's exploration license expired in May 2006 and it was expected to be renewed. Around this time, however, tribal communities of Cockpit Country, together with local and national NGOs and other stakeholders, claimed that there had been no formal consultations and that a mine would cause irreversible environmental impacts. These different groups decided to join forces and formed a united group called the Cockpit Country Stakeholders' Group (CCSG).
Due to political lobbying by CCSG and different types of actions, such as street protests, judicial activism, as well as complaint letters and petitions, Jamaica's government in 2007 withdrew the license for Alcoa Inc. and the state-owned Clarendon Alumina Production Ltd.'s exploration.
The leader of the maroon group, Sydney Peddie, commented on this matter: “We will be joining forces with all the influential people to thwart this issue. It will not happen or else there will be war”
Cockpit Country is an important water reserve in Jamaica; forty percent of it’s fresh water comes from this area. It is also home to many Maroons, as well as a habitat for endemic and rare Jamaican animals – including 95 per cent of the wild population of Jamaican Black-Billed Parrots (a species that appears on the red list of the IUCN). In 1979, threats such as bauxite mining, agriculture and logging led to a proposal to declare it a National Park, followed in 1994 by another proposal to declare it a World Heritage Site. However, none of these met with success. In 2006, a petition was submitted to the Prime Minister asking him to take a stance against all mining activity in the area, and to ensure its protection. In 2013, the Cockpit Country Stakeholders' Group developed a proposal, which was supported by the University of the West Indies, and which asks for the definition of the total territory of Cockpit Country that belongs to the maroons and a boundary set with mining a no-go within the area. The current status of this proposal is unknown.