JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Permanent Secretary in the Transport and Mining Ministry, Dr. Alwin Hales, says the Neglected Development Minerals sector has the potential to create jobs and boost the livelihoods of residents of local communities across the island.
  • Jamaica is one of six ACP countries selected to benefit from a three-year programme, being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that aims to build the profile and improve the management of such minerals.
  • The Mines and Geology Division is the local implementing agency for the ACP - EU Development Minerals Programme.

Permanent Secretary in the Transport and Mining Ministry, Dr. Alwin Hales,  says the Neglected Development Minerals sector has the potential to create jobs and boost the livelihoods of residents of local communities across the island.

He noted that the industry is a major contributor to economic growth in several small island states around the world. “We need to recognise the income generation and potential of this sector,” he said.

Dr. Hales was addressing the opening ceremony for a two-day country consultation on the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States – European Union (EU) Development Minerals Programme, held at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) on April 14 .

Neglected Development Minerals are industrial and construction materials such as gravel, sand, clay and aggregates; and semi-precious stones including  marble, granite, opal and beryl.

They are often referred to as Low Value Minerals and Materials (LVMM) due to their low price as a function of their weight, and their relatively low value to the international commodity markets.

However, they provide crucial inputs for infrastructure, manufacturing, construction and agriculture, and have the potential to be high value in terms of national development.

Jamaica is one of six ACP countries selected to benefit from a three-year programme, being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that aims to build the profile and improve the management of such minerals.

The aim is to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders such as small scale mining enterprises, community groups, business development centres, and regulatory agencies.

Dr. Hales said the programme is important in ensuring the sustainable and inclusive development of small scale mineral resources, and to better understand the social and environmental impacts of small scale mining.

“There is no denying that regulations, policies and institutional capacities governing the sector are oftentimes weak. The Ministry and the Mines and Geology Division have embarked on the development of a policy to address some issues,” he informed.

Meanwhile, Head of Operations, EU Delegation, Achim Schaffert, noted that LVMM can “increase the income of the most vulnerable groups of the population”.

Mr. Schaffert said the EU fully supports the country’s initiatives to achieve its fullest potential “through the efficient and sustainable use of its natural resources.”

The Mines and Geology Division is the local implementing agency for the ACP – EU Development Minerals Programme.