JIS News

Minister of Energy with oversight for Mining and Telecommunications, Clive Mullings, has said that the rise in global demand for metals and some industrial minerals has resulted in renewed interest being shown by both foreign and local investors in local deposits.
“This is reflected in an increase in the number of applications for prospecting and other licences,” he said, adding that in some cases, some of these entities are now establishing a presence in the island.
The Minister was speaking at the National Minerals Industry Safety Awards ceremony, held on June 25 at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
He commended the minerals industry for its achievements and the measures taken towards creating a safe and healthy working environment.
“This industry has, over the years, achieved an enviable record in occupational health and safety, not just locally but internationally,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that the resilience in the industry is evidenced in the 14.6 million tonnes of bauxite that were mined last year. He noted that the figure was the second highest output recorded since 1974 and, when viewed in the context of the circumstances of 2007 (the devastation which was sustained after Hurricane Dean), it was much more significant. Despite the adverse weather conditions, the performance of the minerals component of the sector was positive, as output for most products recorded an increase.
“The entire workforce, both management and workers, must be commended for their commitment in improving productivity to meet or exceed world standards,” he said.
“While we seek to promote our resources, we must make every effort to ensure that we do not sacrifice good occupational safety, health and environmental practices on the altar of development,” he said.
The Minister emphasized that at all times, the industry should be guided by an ever-present reminder that they now operate in a global village and as such operations must be benchmarked against international best practices.
Mr. Mullings said that the awards ceremony was of great importance, “especially when one considers that we are actually recognizing individuals and companies who, as a result of their dedication and commitment, have sought to preserve both life and limb.”
He implored quarry operators and other players in the bauxite sector to maintain a successful track record.
Recipients of the major awards were: Windalco Ewarton for the Minister’s Cup for the Best Safety Record in Ore Processing Operations; Alpart Mines for the Minister’s Cup for the Best Safety Record in Mining Operations; Windalco Kirkvine for the Commissioner of Mines Plaque for the Best Record in Land Reclamation and Restoration; and Alpart Mines for the Minister’s Cup for Best Safety Record in Mining Operations.
St. Ann Jamaica Bauxite Partners received the J.J. Gagnon Trophy for the Best Performance in Promoting Safety in the Bauxite/Alumina Industry; Jamalco, the Frazer Perry Trophy for the Best House-keeping Performance in Mining Operations; Joseph and Ian Wallen Quarry, the Minister’s Cup for the Best Safety Practice among large Quarrying Operations; Agro Stress Jamaica, the Ministry’s award for the Best Safety Practice among Small Quarrying Operations; and Great River Quarry, the Ministry’s Award for the Best Safety Improvement among Small Quarrying Operations.