JIS News

Fifteen years ago, Lydford Mining was granted an exploration permit for the mining of limestone. Since then, they have expanded and diversified to become one of Jamaica’s most successful non-metallic mining ventures.
Owner Leo Cousins recalls that the company began shipping bulk limestone and, subsequently, expanded into processing and exporting ground calcium carbonate for increased income gains from the valued added product.
To date, the company exports ground calcium carbonate to the United States and the rest of the Caribbean, while selling some on the local market.
In 2005/6, Lyford Mining earned US$2.3m from the export of ground calcium carbonate and raw limestone. They currently provide jobs for 60 persons, 40 permanent employees and 20 on contract.
Calcium carbonate is used in the production of plastics, paints, pharmaceuticals, paper, coating, fillers, adhesives and toothpaste. It is also used in water treatment and in the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of stomach antacids and calcium tablets. In Jamaica it is used in soap and animal feed production.
Following a downturn in demand for the product in 2007, Mr. Cousins says Lydford Mining began exporting bulk limestone for the construction and metallurgical industries both in the USA and the Caribbean.
He told JIS news that the company is now undertaking another phase of expansion. It is purchasing additional crushing and shipping equipment and expanding its quality control laboratory and milling operations.
Last year, they invested US$2.5m in the operations to reduce mining costs and increase efficiency.
Lydford Mining ships its raw limestone from Ocho Rios to New Orleans, and has submitted a proposal to the government for restoration of bulk loading infrastructure in St Ann.
This will provide load out bulk carriers for the mining sector to move up to 40,000 tones of limestone for export at a rate of 3,000 tonnes per hour. Mr. Cousins says that this will be a significant addition to necessary factors for successful mining ventures in Jamaica which include proven reserves, markets and a deep-water port.
During the recently concluded National Minerals Week activities, spearheaded by the Ministry of Mining and Telecommunications, the significance of efficiently managing mineral resources within the context of sustainability, wealth and employment generation and investment viability were highlighted.
One objective of the week’s activities was to make more persons aware of investment activities within other sectors of the minerals industry, and particularly non-metallic minerals ventures.
To create a framework for the development of the sector and its potential to contribute to export income and rural development, the Ministry of Mining and Telecommunications recently drafted Jamaica’s first National Minerals Policy.
The policy document states that minerals are valuable, finite and non-renewable natural resources, that provide raw materials for many industries and have played a central role in the evolution of human society and the development of leading economies.
It further states that Jamaica has a range of commercially exploitable minerals, including a wide variety of limestones, hard volcanic rocks, bauxite, marble, base and precious metals, sand and gravel.
These are of major significance to the island’s economic development, particularly their contribution to the national economy, impact on, and linkages with other sectors. This is demonstrated in the sectors overall contribution of 5.5%, to Jamaica’s gross domestic product in 2007.
In recognition of this, the policy establishes the framework for the country’s approach to managing its mineral resources and developing its minerals industry in an environment that fosters more investments while protecting environmental integrity.

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