JIS News

The Ministry of Mining and Telecommunications, has launched a three- month consultation process, to finalise Jamaica’s first national minerals policy, and establish the framework for management and development of the local mining industry.
Minister, Derrick Smith, said the draft document “sets out a comprehensive and unified approach to developing the country’s minerals industry ensuring that the Jamaican people are the major beneficiaries. The policy therefore constitutes an important aspect of the Government’s determination to develop a broad-based industry within the construct of sustainability, and signals its aim to create a modern and diversified minerals industry, in harmony with effective environmental management.”
He further stated that areas of focus in the policy document are the encouragement of investment and development with an emphasis on the manufacture of value added products, to provide employment and increase export income.
The existing draft policy document reports that Jamaica has a range of commercially exploitable minerals, including a wide variety of limestones, hard volcanic rocks, bauxite, marble, clay, gypsum, base and precious metals, sand, and gravel. The document further states that these have the potential to contribute effectively to the country’s gross domestic product and since 1985 have contributed about 5.2 per cent annually. The final policy is expected to drive more investments, linkages with other sectors and contribute to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The new policy is also expected to address other long-standing industry concerns, such as better management of resources and minerals bearing land from pre-mining to post-mining; rationalising of the many pieces of regulation that govern the sector and environmental concerns.
Expected improvements under the new policy include less dependence on bauxite; upgrading of ageing infrastructure; speedier rehabilitation of mined out land; reduction of illegal quarrying activities; reduced importation of mineral products that can be produced locally in addition to increased research and professional skills related to the sector.
The draft policy was formulated through a consultative process involving public, private sector and professional associations. Implementation is expected to take place over a three year period. The Ministry will review and adjust the policy as necessary, based on feedback, progress reports and analyses.
Consultations started in St. Thomas on October 2, with the next scheduled for St. Elizabeth on October 30 at the St. Elizabeth Technical School, and November 20. at Alpart Sports Club. Both consultations start at 5.00 p.m. and members of the public are urged to attend.