Mon­tague: Min­ing an im­por­tant player in the econ­omy

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - CLOVIS TOON -

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.

(Photo: JIS)

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.

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