HOME PAGE PHOTO: Development Minerals programme grantee and participant Robert Campbell of Hands in Heart, a clay artisan who purchased a key work tool with his grant and is seeing increased productivity
· Final Conference attendees laud project for making its mark
[Kingston, 31 January 2019] – Industry stakeholders have lauded the European Union-funded ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme for training hundreds, and awarding productive grants and other inputs valued at nearly 750 000 USD, thereby setting the stage for improving the industry’s contributions to jobs and economic growth and lessening its negative impacts on the environment.
Within two years of the intensive phase of the project, more than 500 persons have been trained, and 19 grants disbursed to improve productivity and marketability of small- and medium scale operators working in the industry, National Coordinator, Ruth Clarke disclosed at a final project conference for the UNDP-implemented project recently. She said the project training for capacity building, focused on mining and quarrying management, environment, health, safety and gender; entrepreneurial skills and investment promotion; conflict sensitive mining management; and geo-data skills.
She also disclosed that a baseline study was completed in 2017 highlighting strengths and weaknesses of the sector, and a roadmap in 2016. These documents assisted in mapping the way for continued strengthening of the industry as well as positioning stakeholders to benefit more from their operations while ensuring safety, environmental and health concerns were met.
“With strategic support, we can position the industry to contribute more jobs, more income, stronger businesses and greater contributions to GDP”, UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune commented.
She said that the potential of the industry to earn more while impacting poverty levels was enormous and noted that the 2017 Baseline Assessment of Development Minerals in Jamaica projected Jamaica could earn up to US$ 7 billion annually through increased production of limestone and value-added items, well above the US$1.7 million earned in 2015.
The Resident Presentative a.i., quoting the baseline report said even at this modest stage in in its growth, the industry delivered an estimated 1,750 jobs and 7000 to 8750 indirect jobs and contributed 2.3% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Dr Laurence-Chounoune congratulated participating quarry operators for integrating quarry rehabilitation into their operations thereby reducing noise and dust pollution to neighbouring communities and called on the authorities to recruit these operators as eco mining champions. “We hope to see these types of approaches multiplied in quarrying operations across Jamaica with concomitant impact on the environment and the sustainable development of these resources”, she stated.
Minister of Transport and Mining the Hon. Robert Montague in his remarks said the Development Minerals programme has helped the country to “lay the critical groundwork to enable us to move forward in increasing productivity in the industry; better manage the quarrying operations…; adhere to national and international environmental and health standards; and prevent conflict through effective community relations”
He further noted that the programme complemented the Government’s focus on business development, wealth creation, increased exports and job creation while ensuring effective environmental stewardship and sustainability. In this vein he disclosed that the Ministry was currently working on the National Minerals Policy to enhance expansion and growth of the entire minerals industry including the development minerals sub sector.
He pointed to other developments in the area of training including the launch of a national mining school in October 2018, ongoing curriculum development for a BSc in Mining Engineering at University of Technology and another degree in minerals engineering from the Caribbean Maritime University.
Development Minerals includes industrial minerals (including limestone, clays, gypsum, industrial sand,); construction materials (including gravel, limestone aggregate, cement and construction sand), dimension stones (including marble, and minor marble); and semi-precious stones (including agate, amber, malachite, garnet and opal), which are used to make jewelry.