JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings has said that the Mines and Geology Division continues to promote and encourage the production of manufactured sand from rocks. He pointed out that this was the direction to go, as the natural resource of sand gravel was on the decline, and as such the island could no longer rely on rivers to supply that material.
The State Minister was speaking recently at the 2006 National Mineral Industry Safety Awards ceremony in Kingston.
He said that already, a number of operators have been engaged in this practice and two operations were producing good quality sand from limestone rocks, with a third slated to come on stream soon.
The State Minister stressed that operators of quarries needed to improve the way their operations are conducted, adding that training should be accessed, not only to improve the business but also to obtain certification as quarry operators.
“The current plan by the Ministry involves the awarding of credits to operators who participate in workshops, seminars and courses specifically designed to address critical aspects of operations,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the State Minister argued that for the industry to realize its full potential, it must have access to port facilities that are strategically located islandwide.
He said the Ministry has recognized this as a priority area and has begun the process of exploring the options available. “The Ministry recently facilitated a roundtable discussion with private industry and key government stakeholders, where these concerns were outlined and prospects for opportunities highlighted,” Mr. Cummings said.
He indicated that from these discussions, an islandwide study would be conducted to determine the most feasible existing port locations to establish export facilities for the industrial minerals sector.
“We will be moving aggressively over the next few months to get this done and the newly established Minerals Development Advisory Council will be leading the effort,” Mr. Cummings said.
Interest in the island’s industrial minerals, especially over the last few years, has been encouraging. This has been reflected in the demand for sand and other aggregates on both the domestic and international markets.
During 2006, exports of manufactured sand and other aggregates were only surpassed by bauxite and alumina, in the bulk materials category.

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