Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, Resident Representative, a.i.

Final Conference – Development Minerals Programme

Courtleigh Hotel, Wed. 9 Jan. 2019, 9:30 a.m.

 

Acknowledgements

  • Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague
  • Head of Delegation of the European Union, Her Excellency Malgorzata Wasilewski represented by Mr. Stefano Cilli, Attaché/ Programme Manager - Rural Development and Environment, Delegation of the European Union
  • Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Mining, Dr Alwin Hales
  • Commissioner of Mines, Mines and Geology Division, Mr Roy Nicholson
  • Programme Manager, ACP EU Development Minerals Programme, Dr Degol Hailu
  • President, Mining and Quarrying Association, Mr Anthony Morgan
  • Chairperson, Mr. Clinton Thompson
  • Other distinguished ladies and gentlemen

 

Good morning to all.

UNDP has been honoured to be a part of the ACP-EU Development Minerals programme funded by our valued partner, the European Union and expertly implemented by the Mines and Geology Division, of the Ministry of Transport and Mining, since 2014.  The programme’s objective of ensuring a reliable, sustainable supply of Development Minerals is essential to poverty reduction through job creation and small business facilitation – with potential impact on economic growth.

The poverty-reducing potential of this industry is enormous. Our 2017 Baseline Assessment of Development Minerals in Jamaica has projected that Jamaica could earn up to US$ 7 billion annually through increased production of limestone and its value-added items for local and export markets. As of 2015, we were earning in the region of US$1.7 million – far, far below our potential.

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), according to the baseline study presented by SLR Environmental Consulting Group

With strategic support, we can position the industry to contribute more jobs, more income, stronger businesses and greater contributions to GDP.  

Here’s why: Every one of us in this room uses the by-products of development minerals. They constitute the raw material for cosmetics and toothpaste, paint and construction aggregates, not to mention simple plates and cups, even car rims, as well as all indispensable products in construction, manufacturing, crafts, tourism and agriculture. As such, the input source of these products has an in-built and steady market demand.

We must do more to make this an ever-increasing reality.  We must work more closely with our quarry operators, miners, artisans and other players in the minerals industry in whose hands rests the extraction and value-added treatment of these minerals.

The Development Minerals Programme has made an excellent start, judging from reports of the hundreds trained and feedback from grantees and other industry stakeholders. I must congratulate the hardworking team from the Mines and Geology Division of the Ministry of Transport and Mining, the UNDP Staff and the Development Minerals’ Country coordinator in Jamaica, Ruth Clarke for exceptional work resulting in a near 100% delivery of targets. Well done.

The impact of this work is evident in the stories of quarry operators and artisans who have signalled tremendous benefits from their involvement in the programme.

I was particularly heartened by the eco-friendly initiatives implemented by Shaw’s Quarry and Hodges Powders and Aggregates Ltd., both of which supply value added products for the construction industry. Using simple measures, they have integrated quarry rehabilitation into their operations and reduced noise and dust pollution to neighbouring communities. 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.  They and others like them must become your eco- mining champions. Lydford Mining Company also blazes a trail with the production of manufactured beach sand, resulting in less dependence on utilizing limited reserves of naturally occurring beach sand. Give them room to share their stories and their techniques.

Equally heartening were the stories of artisans like Wazari Johnson and Robert Campbell who through training and grants have introduced greater efficiency into their operations, improved production and revenue, and in some cases, like Fabian Rainford, Rose Town and Garfield Williams and  Egbert Hamilton, Trench Town along with Dana Baugh, Savanna-la-mar,  provided jobs and apprenticeships to youth at risk in their communities.

These are the impacts that make a difference. And these are the impacts that we must seek to strengthen.

Your discussions today will be supported in large part by our Baseline Assessment of the Development Minerals industry completed by this project.  It provides ample recommendations which we hope you will review and filter through the realities of your industry experiences.

Some standout recommendations include the need to:

  • Reduce the impacts of quarrying through rolling rehabilitation;
  • Transform extraction practices away from crude, dangerous methods through operational practice and regulation;
  • Provide a transparent grievance & complaints procedures system, for local community residents adjacent to quarry operations; (with the use of the latest app technology)
  • Plug the island’s gap in supply of suitable clays for pottery, ceramics and semi-precious stones for jewellery-making;
  • Provide sector-appropriate Vocational Training and Apprenticeships, along with Tertiary, College Education, for both young men and women as well as mature mining operators, in order to build awareness about work and career opportunities in the sector

I urge you to pay special attention to Market & Value Chain recommendations, especially those related to adding value to key commodities, as this will unlock the earning potential of the sector and continue to boost its contribution to GDP.

I am confident your inputs will take the industry to the next level of its potential and will help Jamaica achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, No Poverty; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Responsible Consumption and Production, [and] in sustainable cities and communities.

Of course, all of this would not be possible without our donor, the European Union. On behalf of the UNDP, I take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to the European Union for its significant investments in the sector and for vesting overall project implementation responsibilities with the UNDP. You have and continue to be a most worthy and valued partner in our strides for a better world.

UNDP looks forward to the next phase of this relationship and to working with all to ensure Jamaica becomes the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

 

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