JIS News

President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Patricia Francis has said that as the mining and quarrying sector continued to grow, emphasis must also be placed on improving business and operating practices.
“Operators must focus on improvement of overall management of their quarries as well as the impact of their operations on the environment. We recognize that technical assistance is needed to facilitate this process,” she stated.
Miss Francis was making the opening remarks at a two-day workshop on the development of sustainable quarrying within the environment, which is being organized by the Mines and Geology Division in association with JAMPRO, the Centre for Development Enterprise (CDE) and the Mines and Quarries Association of Jamaica.
Three two-day workshops are being held in Kingston, Clarendon and St. Ann with participation expected from companies in all 14 parishes. An important outcome of the CDE intervention, Miss Francis informed, is that some 100 persons island-wide would be trained, and it is expected that these individuals would “ultimately share their knowledge with their colleagues, thus enabling the wider promotion of international environmental best practices within their own work space”.
Noting the collaboration between JAMPRO, the CDE and the Association, Miss Francis said the link was an important and unique one for Jamaica and was critical to going forward, “not only for our own national development, but also for its potential as an export industry”.
She noted that JAMPRO had, for several years, performed the role of national representative of the decentralized management unit of the CDE, and that the Corporation, in this capacity managed grant funding applications from Jamaican companies for submission to the CDE. “This function is in sync with JAMPRO’s wider mandate of investment in export facilitation to contribute to the overall growth of the economy. So we continue to be very pleased to be able to collaborate with the CDE,” she said.
She said JAMPRO and the CDE had been particularly active in the area of quality systems and certification, providing funding to Jamaican enterprises for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification to improve their market access. Last year, the CDE identified environmental management among the emerging areas where systems would be directed to assist Small and Medium Enterprises individually or in clusters, to compete in the global marketplace.
Through this series of workshops, Miss Francis told the gathering, “we are building on work done in the past, not only at the sector level, not only at the company level, but companies have also benefited from direct intervention”.
Seventy-six persons have been trained in the international certified programme and 28 in blast calculation and design. In addition to the international certification, the programme demonstrated other positive impacts, Miss Francis said. “A number of participants have demonstrated significant improvements in their operations but in terms of mining techniques and progressive restoration, one company in Manchester, having applied the new techniques along with significant investment in the development of its quarry, was able to export for the first time in 2004,” she noted.
In addition, the JAMPRO President disclosed, one blasting company in Clarendon had moved up two places to become the second largest blasting contractor in Jamaica. “The company is now servicing all the bauxite mining companies and has also won sub contracts with a multi-national corporation,” she stated. Miss Francis said JAMPRO had identified minerals as one of the priority economic sectors. “We are seeking and seeing significant growth in this sector and increasing levels of construction activity will continue to fuel this growth. Some companies are turning their attention to value-added products. Also, there are opportunities for products to be exported to regional markets,” she pointed out.
Miss Francis further invited stakeholders to join with JAMPRO and the CDE to explore other funding opportunities, in particular, the Private Sector Development Programme, which she noted would shortly be launching its sector and cluster initiative component.
“JAMPRO will continue to support the efforts of our sector partners towards attaining international best practice in mining and quarrying,” she assured.The objectives of the workshops are to make operators aware of the impact of quarrying on the environment; discuss possible solutions to environmental problems; deal with complaints; discuss methods/techniques of improving plant/equipment performance; discuss basic health and safety issues in the quarrying environment; and how to carry out risk assessment.