Montague: Mining an important player in the economy
TRANSPORT and Mining Minister Robert Montague says that mining continues to play an important role in the country’s economic growth and development.
He noted that gross domestic product (GDP) for the July to September 2018 quarter grew by 1.8 per cent, bolstered by significant improvement in mining and quarrying.
Real value added for the mining and quarrying industry grew by an estimated 54 per cent, reflecting the increased output of alumina, which outweighed a decline in crude bauxite production. Alumina production increased by 65.7 per cent to 689 kilotonnes.
“We’re not done yet,” the minister said.
He was speaking to JIS News ahead of a tour of the mines and refinery operations of bauxite/ alumina company Jamalco in Halse Hall, Clarendon, last Thursday.
He said that the Government has put measures in place to ensure the viability of the sector.
These include the launch of a mining school, which has been training quarry operators, crafting a national mining policy, which is now before Cabinet, and the establishment of a quarry advisory committee to extend licences for on-land mining activities from one to 10 years.
Montague noted that since taking office in March last year, he has signed a total of 26 exploratory licences for semi-precious minerals such as copper, cobalt, zinc, gold and silver.
He further advised that he has given a mandate to commissioner of Mines and Geology, Roy Nicholson, to examine mud lakes to unearth their usefulness.
In a JIS News interview, Nicholson said a desk study is being undertaken, which will then be followed by the testing of the lakes.
Montague was joined on the tour by state minister in the National Security Ministry and Member of Parliament for Clarendon South Eastern Rudyard Spencer; Managing Director of Jamalco Austin Mooney; Board Chairman Dennis Morgan; and members of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute.
Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague (right) looks on as principal director of mining in the ministry, Dr Oral Rainford (centre), makes a point during a tour of Jamalco’s refinery and mining operations in Halse Hall, Clarendon, last Thursday. At left is state minister in the National Security Ministry and Member of Parliament for Clarendon South Eastern Rudyard Spencer.