KINGSTON — Mining and quarrying saw the most growth of all sectors in the economy during the July to September quarter of 2011, with an increase of 7.5 per cent.
This growth contributed to the economy growing by 0.5 per cent for the quarter under review. It is also projected that the economy will grow by between 1 per cent and 2 per cent for the October to December quarter.
Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, explained that the growth in the mining and quarrying industry largely reflected the continued impact of the re-opening of the Windalco Ewarton alumina plant, and increased bauxite production by Noranda Bauxite Company, facilitated by increased global demand.
Dr. Hutchinson was speaking at a press briefing, today (November 23) at the PIOJ's Oxford Road offices, in Kingston, to report on the country’s economic performance,
"Total bauxite production increased by nine per cent during the review period, reflecting an increased alumina production of eight per cent, and increased crude bauxite production of 10.4 per cent,” he pointed out.
Mining and quarrying falls within the goods-producing sector, which grew overall by 1.8 per cent for the period.
Meanwhile, also within the goods-producing industry, agriculture, fishing and forestry recorded 2.5 per cent growth, largely reflecting increased output for: traditional export crops (up 5.2 per cent); other agricultural crops (up 4.1 per cent); and post harvest activities (up 4.7 per cent). The total hectares of domestic crops reaped during the review period increased by 6.9 per cent.
Dr. Hutchinson explained that the improved performance in agriculture was due to more favourable weather conditions, which facilitated higher production levels, compared to the corresponding period of 2010; continued benefits from major replanting efforts by farmers with support from the Ministry of Agriculture, following the impact of Tropical Storm Nicole, in September 2010; and the Ministry of Agriculture’s production and productivity programme, which provided support to farmers in the areas of marketing, irrigation, and extension services.
Meanwhile, construction saw the least increase in the goods-producing sector, with 1.8 per cent growth. Dr. Hutchison said this reflected increased activities in the “other construction” component, particularly civil engineering, which includes road works, such as the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), the Palisadoes corridor development, and the Washington Boulevard improvement project.
The Director General further noted that building construction is estimated to have grown due to increases recorded in residential construction, as reflected by housing starts, which were up 27.1 per cent; and increases in the volume and value of mortgages, which were up 6.7 and 1.7 per cent, respectively.
Dr. Hutchinson pointed out that upturn in the goods-producing sector reflects the continued strengthening of the economy, although at a slower rate, with most industries recovering following the prolonged period of economic downturn.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter