Jamaica to tap global and domestic markets with underutilized mineral deposits

Oct 19, 2016

A representative of the Trench Town Arts and Crafts Centre demonstrates working in clay – an important development mineral

 

  • Homegrown jobs and rural development projected

                         

[UNDP, 14 December 2016]: Jamaica is poised to tap into new global and domestic minerals markets through a capacity building programme that will support small scale operators transform the island’s significant deposits of underutilized minerals into everyday goods and much needed infrastructure such as roads, bridges and housing.

Under the global programme launched October 19 in Jamaica, the island became one of only six countries from the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States selected for a €750 000 grant out of the global €13 million allocation, and the only country in the Caribbean.

The programme targets small scale private operators and institutions and boosts their capacity to sustainably extract and transform locally sourced minerals into manufacturing, construction and agricultural products – such as toothpaste, jewelry, sculptures and construction material. These ‘Development Minerals’ nurture homegrown jobs, especially those of youth and women, boost local manufacturing and enterprise and are essential for rural economic development. The ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme is an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), financed by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme and implemented by UNDP. In Jamaica, the programme is working closely with a range of stakeholders, including the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

“Mining and quarrying not only create jobs and generate income in poor, rural communities but also benefit sectors that are essential for national development, including tourism, agriculture, infrastructure development, urban and regional planning, housing and environmental management,” said UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Bruno Pouezat. He congratulated Jamaica for being one of the six countries selected globally adding that “a sustainable supply of minerals and other raw materials are essential for a well-functioning economy.”

“Greater attention will be needed to restore and rehabilitate mined out lands and put them to more productive use,” observed Mr. Pouezat, noting that the programme fosters an environmentally sustainable approach to mining and quarrying given the potential for environmental problems associated with mining.

“The ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme advances the EU’s commitment to support the government’s priority focus on economic growth, job creation and prosperity, and the country’s efforts to reduce poverty and promote equal opportunity for all,” said Mr. Achim Schaffert, Head of Operations of the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica. He pointed to the fact that the Development Minerals sector is underutilized and struggles with environmental, social and economic challenges.

“Jamaica has a suite of commercially exploitable minerals, ranging from limestone, volcanics, shale and semiprecious stones that can form the basis of a profitable, efficient and sustainable minerals sector,” said Dr. Alvin Hales, Permanent Secretary at Transport and Mining Ministry, on behalf of Minister Mike Henry. “This will certainly result in improved efforts to reduce poverty, facilitate rural development and generate wealth,” he added while underlining that, with the downturn in the bauxite industry, this “diversification and strategic development” has come at an opportune time and is consistent with Jamaica’s new National Minerals Policy.

In a programme brief delivered by Jamaica Coordinator Ruth Clarke and UNDP Programme Specialist Richard Kelly, it was pointed out that the project will focus on Development Minerals, which 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. 

The programme will work on: improving mine and quarry management, environmental, health, safety standards and protecting human and labour rights; improving access to markets and working capital of the small-scale private sector through enhancing entrepreneurial skills; strengthening value chains through networking and improved capacity of associations/chambers and public institutions to conduct market analysis and investment promotion; improving access to geo-data through enhanced technical knowledge, capacity and coordination among public institutions; reducing risk of conflict between miners, mining enterprises and local communities by building conflict prevention, dialogue and mediation skills of miners, associations/chambers, public institutions and communities.

 

Contact information

Contact: Gillian Scott, UNDP/UN Communications Analyst

Tel: 978 2390 – 9 Ext 2032; Mobile: 427 0766