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  • Principal Director, Policy Planning and Development Division, Ministry of Transport and Mining, Dr. Oral Rainford (left) observes as Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska (centre), examines a map showing the distribution of minerals in Jamaica. Occasion was an African, Caribbean and Pacific-EU Development Minerals Programme transfer of assets ceremony, held at the Mines and Geology Division, in St Andrew on March 21. At right is Commissioner of Mines, Roy Nicholson.
  • Principal Director, Policy Planning and Development Division, Ministry of Transport and Mining, Dr. Oral Rainford (right) engages in dialogue with Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, at an African, Caribbean and Pacific-EU Development Minerals Programme transfer of assets ceremony, held at the Mines and Geology Division in St Andrew, on March 21.

Equipment valued at US$11,000 (J$1.48 million) has been procured for the Mines and Geology Division of the Transport and Mining Ministry, to further advance the development of the mineral industry.

They include a computer server/storage area network (SAN); server racks and shelves, consoles, laptop and tablet computers, among others.

They were secured under the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-European Union (EU) Development Minerals Programme, being implemented in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The equipment will enable staff to use the latest technology to improve the delivery of service and is part of a larger US$90,000 that facilitated the training of certain stakeholders in the minerals industry, grant disbursement and cash transfers.
Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, said the programme has proven to be a beneficial partnership, as it has helped to build the profile and improve the management of the development minerals industry.

“This includes limestone, sand and gravel, what we call dimension stones, industrial minerals and semi-precious minerals,” he said.

Mr. Montague’s remarks were delivered by Principal Director, Policy Planning and Development Division, Ministry of Transport and Mining, Dr. Oral Rainford, at an ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme transfer of assets ceremony, at the Mines and Geology Division in St. Andrew, on March 21.

The Minister noted that since the official start of the programme in 2016, it has helped to bring development minerals to the forefront of policymaking.

“At the country level, the programme carried out capacity-building activities in six focus countries, including Jamaica in the form of training and train-the-trainers workshops, provided small grants, gave oversight to the production of maps and databases, provided guidance towards the development of regulations on environment and safety, and the organisation of community dialogues, ” he said.

Mr. Montague noted that the minerals industry is heading steadfastly towards an information revolution, “which has a significant impact on mining operations”.

“Information and communications technology has become one of the most important tools for enabling increased transparency, process efficiency, improving productivity, optimisation of operational costs and decision-making along with increasing employee/customer and investor satisfaction,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that the programme, as well as the attendant collaboration, ties in beautifully with the aim of the Administration’s mission for business development, wealth creation, increased exportation, poverty alleviation and job creation.

“It supports our long-term vision, which is to transform Jamaica into a place where Jamaicans will live, want to live, work, raise families and retire,” he said.

Mr. Montague expressed gratitude to the EU for providing support to the programme in the form of funding.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Mines, Roy Nicholson, said the equipment will help to advance the productivity and capability of the Mines and Geology Division.

“The timing of the equipment comes at a critical point. The Mines and Geology Division is celebrating 160 years of managing Jamaica’s geology research and regulating the country’s mineral industry, and we are reflecting on how far we have come and, indeed, where we intend to go,” he said.

Mr. Nicholson pointed out that aside from its focus on land geology, the entity, as part of its 160-year anniversary celebration, is looking to explore new frontiers, such as marine geology.
The EU’s Head of Delegation, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, said the programme demonstrates Jamaica’s recognition of the importance of unused resources and the need to develop specific policies and dedicated tools in order to exploit them for the benefit of the country.

Ambassador Wasilewska made an appeal for the care and maintenance of the equipment.
She said too often, donors find themselves in positions where having handed over equipment, they are not used or maintained.

For his part, UNDP Officer in Charge and Programme Specialist, Richard Kelly, said the transfer of assets signifies a strong partnership between the UNDP and the Government.
He said the occasion marks the second time that equipment is being handed over under the project and will serve to “augment the technological capacity of the Mines and Geology Division as it is transformed into a leading-edge institution”.