Mining and Minerals Sector Buoyant

Photo: O. Rodger Hutchinson A limestone pit being mined in Clarendon.

Story Highlights

  • Principal Director in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Dr. Oral Rainford, says the minerals sector is heading in the right direction and is experiencing buoyancy.
  • Dr. Rainford was addressing a JIS Think Tank held recently, at the agency’s head office in Kingston.
  • Dr. Rainford noted that limestone is already being used locally in the making of paint, soap, animal feed, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as well as construction blocks and related products.

Principal Director in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Dr. Oral Rainford, says the minerals sector is heading in the right direction and is experiencing buoyancy.

He noted that highway construction, among other development projects, has resulted in a significant increase in the production of limestone, skid-resistant aggregate and other materials.

He informed that the amount of material produced for the building of the north-south link of Highway 2000 and associated roads in one year exceeded the three-year demand.

Dr. Rainford was addressing a JIS Think Tank held recently, at the agency’s head office in Kingston.

He said that focus is being placed on maximising the value-added areas of the mining and minerals industry and to integrate the sector into other areas of the economy.

“We don’t want to focus only on exporting bauxite and limestone in their raw forms. We want to add value. We want to make more of the products that we need from these minerals here,” he pointed out.

“It is that sort of vision that we have for the sector to use the material that we have because we can do it, we know how to do it and it is going to generate the benefit that is needed,” he added.

Dr. Rainford noted that limestone is already being used locally in the making of paint, soap, animal feed, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as well as construction blocks and related products.

He also pointed to the export of ground calcium carbonate, which is being produced to the grade of flour or baby powder.  This is used in products such as antacid and in the manufacture of cigarette paper.

Limestone is utilised as an anti-caking agent in baking flour, is an ingredient in calcium tablets, and is used to remove sulfur in coal-fired plants.

“It is a major part of the process to remove impurities from bauxite, which gives alumina a very good quality and a range of other things,” Dr. Rainford pointed out.

He told JIS News that industrial limestone is beneficial in controlling odour and vermin at landfills, and in purifying water.

Hydrated limestone is an option for the rum distillery business and a range of other applications.

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