The Mines and Geology Division of the Ministry of Transport and Mining has collected $826.8 million in royalties, which is payable to the Government for all the country’s minerals and quarry materials sold or disposed of otherwise.
Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, who made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 2, said this figure is $110 million over the targeted $710 million.
“This is an excellent and commendable performance by the Mines and Geology [Division],” the Minister said as he provided an update on the work of the unit.
In addition, Mr. Montague informed that a surveying drone was acquired through the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme to support more thorough inspections of quarries and mines.
“It is also used to estimate stock-piled material for an accurate determination of the quantities of minerals produced, so that the true resource royalties and taxes can be assessed and levied and paid,” he noted.
Further, Mr. Montague said that 40 Special Exclusive Prospecting Licences were processed, 33 of which were for local company, Geophysx Jamaica Limited, to prospect for gold, silver, copper and other base metals.
“From the mapping reports, most of the locations/prospects are favourable. The company has actually started a test drilling to confirm their findings. If ever commercial quantities of these metals are to be found, this Jamaican-owned company will be the one,” he said.
He commended principal of the company, Robert Stewart, “for the use of technology, the training of more than 30 geology students, the sharing of technical data and mostly his respect for the land and the environment”.
In the meantime, the Minister informed that the first cohort of 18 persons have completed the programme to become certified quarry managers. This course was offered at the Excelsior Community College under the Mining School of Jamaica.
Providing further updates on the Division’s work, Mr. Montague pointed out that Jamaica participated in the Mining Policy Framework Assessment conducted by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
“Technical support has also been provided to Jamaica’s Limestone Industry Value Chain Development Project, implemented by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), where value-added limestone products are being examined for economic gains,” he said.
Additionally, the Minister noted that within the year, studies on marine industrial minerals would commence, as the Division seeks to “determine the volume of construction materials at ‘spits’ in the sea in St. Thomas and Clarendon”.
The Mines and Geology Division has the statutory responsibility, under the Mining Act and the Quarries Control Act, to exercise general supervision over all prospecting, mining and quarrying operations throughout the island.
The Division also processes all applications for prospecting rights, licenses, leases and export permits for all minerals and quarry materials. Inspections are carried out at all mines and quarries to ensure good mine engineering practices, the complete mining and restoration of bauxite pits, investigation of complaints regarding illicit mining/quarrying and other environmental matters, as well as ensuring the safety and health of all employees within the mining and quarrying sector.