The Lydford Mining Company in St. Ann will set a record for the country on Sunday February 13, when it ships 43,000 tonnes of local limestone to the United States.
The amount represents the largest shipment of the mineral from Jamaica to the North American country. The limestone is currently being loaded on the TBS International vessel, Chesapeake Belle, at the Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios.
Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson, who witnessed the start of loading operations on Thursday February 10, said that the Reynolds Pier, which is primarily a dock for cruise ships, can now sustain a viable aggregate industry.
“We have found a way to use this deep water pier …to make sure that we can build more than one industry here. To be able to set a record for any pier is a landmark for us and we hope that this shipment of 43,000 tonnes will successfully be able to give us a viable, sustainable (aggregate) industry, starting in the year 2012,” he said.
“I want to say to the people of Ocho Rios and the wider St. Ann that you once had a “red gold” (bauxite) industry and you will now have another industry, which is white in colour, but it is going to have the same value and returns for you,” he added.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Lydford Mining Company, Leo Cousins, said that the record shipment “has been a long time coming for us”.
He informed that the company made its first shipment of 1,500 tonnes 14 years ago and “from that point, we developed to 35,000 tonnes last year”.
The Reynolds Pier was originally built to ship bauxite, and there is a conveyor belt still in place, which transported 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes of bauxite per hour from an inland mine to the pier, for loading onto ships.
Mr. Cousins said it is the intention of his company to resuscitate the equipment to facilitate the loading of limestone.
“In order to do this, we will have to invest several million US dollars but there are financiers abroad who are willing to support us in this venture,” he said, adding that “it would be wonderful to see the TBS carrier arriving at the Reynolds Pier every month next year”.
Mr. Cousins thanked JAMPRO and the Government of Jamaica for supporting his company and also commended his hard working staff.
Founded in 1991, the Lydford Mining Company is a true success story in the local mining industry. The company mines hundreds of thousands of tonnes of limestone and derivatives eachyear from its base in St. Ann, providing raw materials to local and overseas clients.
Others in the touring party were JAMPRO President, Sancia Bennett Templer and Member of Parliament for Northeast St. Ann, Shahine Robinson.
CONTACT: ALDEEN CAMPBELL
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE