Agriculture and Lands Ministry Seeks Public Input for National Minerals Policy


The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands is seeking to develop a National Minerals Policy for Jamaica and has organized a series of three public consultations aimed at garnering feedback from a wide cross section of Jamaicans with vested interest in the mining sector.
Senior Director of the Minerals Policy and Development Division in the Ministry, Oral Rainford, told JIS News that “the need for a National Minerals Policy has arisen because even though the country has policy directives relating to different minerals, there isn’t any single policy, which speaks to developing and managing Jamaica’s mineral resources.”
He said that the policy, once completed, would assist in the growth and development of the country’s minerals industry and allow persons to view the industry as a single unit.
“With the National Minerals Policy, we expect that those sectors, which are least developed, for example, the industrial mineral sector, will come into its own and stakeholders will realize that there are possibilities for developing their businesses,” he explained.
The minerals industry consists of a number of activities that are geared towards harnessing minerals resources, producing raw materials and value-added mineral products, which are used in various sectors.
This entails primary raw materials such as limestone, dolomite, sand and gravel, hard rock, (andesite etc), marble and semi-precious stones, mineral-based bonding agents such as Portland cement, thin-set and grout, construction aggregates, industrial lime, construction blocks, caustic soda, ornamental stones, tiles and marble slabs.
The consultations will get underway on Wednesday, August 9 at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, and according to Mr. Rainford, the decision to begin in Mandeville was influenced by the fact that the town had a large bauxite entity as well as a number of quarries and developing quarries.
The other two sessions will be held in Montego Bay at the Wexford Court Hotel on August 15 and in Kingston at the Ministry of Local Government and Environment, 16a Half-Way-Tree Road, on August 17. The sessions will run from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day.
Mr. Rainford told JIS News that although the public sessions were a requirement of government policy development, they also provide important information from which the Ministry could benefit.
The forums, he explained, will help to “provide different sides on the issue, which will eventually result in a policy that represents a wider range of interests, including that of the general public, the government and especially that of investors within the industry.”
According to statistics from the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s Economic and Social Survey, the mining and minerals industry is a major contributor to Jamaica’s economy, accounting for between six and 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum. Between 2001 and 2004, the mining industry has seen an annual average growth of 3.35 per cent.

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