JIS News

Minister of Energy with oversight for Mining and Telecommunications Clive Mullings has informed that the Government is in the process of revising legislations governing safety and health at the workplace.
As such an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) will establish new standards to which all economic sectors must adhere.
Speaking at the National Minerals Industry Safety Awards, on Wednesday (June 25) at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Mr. Mullings said that a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was being developed between the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the respective Government Agencies that have responsibility for Occupational Safety and Health in the various sectors of the economy.
“The Mines and Geology Division, the Agency with responsibility for Occupational Safety and Health for this sector, is a member of the sub-group established by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to review Occupational Safety and Health Memorandum of Understanding,” he noted.
In the meantime, Mr. Mullings noted that the industry continues to face challenges. One of these is the impact of mining and quarrying operations on nearby communities. He noted that communities are placing greater demands on companies for the inconvenience they experience from mining and quarrying operations and as such “there is no room for complacency.”
He implored operators to build on the achievements of the sector while exploring and developing novel ways of conducting operations.
Minister Mullings noted that the demand for land and the need to maintain a hospitable environment dictates that mined-out lands must be restored within the shortest possible time.
He reminded mining companies that they have an obligation to restore all mined-out lands within the stipulated three year time frame, adding that “failure to honour this obligation will result in the application of the associated penalties.”
“Our records indicate that as at the end of 2007, a total of 7,944 hectares have been distributed for mining. Of this amount, 5,224 hectares or 64 per cent have been certified by the Commissioner (of Mines) as having been satisfactorily restored,” he informed adding that a number of strategies are being adopted by the Commissioner of Mines to ensure that the backlog of unrestored mined-out lands is effectively addressed within the specified period.
Additionally, the Minister noted that quarrying activities would be strictly monitored to ensure that they are being conducted in accordance with the Quarry Plans submitted; and where practicable, progressive restoration will be mandatory and applications for renewal of quarry licences will be accessed based on the extent of the restoration works.

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