By Peta-Gay Hodges
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Principal director, minerals policy planning and development division in the ministry of transport and mining, Dr Oral Rainford, is encouraging persons to invest in limestone mining. In an interview with JIS News, Dr Rainford explained that the ministry is intent on educating the public about how increasing limestone mining would redound to the country’s benefit.
“I don’t think enough is known about the extent to which limestone’s contribution has been expanding, especially as we seek to diversify the economy and bridge that particular segment of the mining sector,” he said.
He added that limestone is also a diffused mineral, as it is used in small quantities in many areas, such as paper, cosmetics, and soap.
“We have decided to push this particular mineral, primarily because Jamaica has a huge quantity of limestone which has significant variability in quality. The quality is exceptionally good at both the higher level and the lower level in terms of its utilities,” Dr Rainford said.
He outlined the steps that need to be taken for persons to enter the mining industry, pointing out that an application should be made to the government through the Mines and Geology Department of the ministry of transport and mining and that the application is then sent to the minister for a quarry licence to be granted if the entity is seeking to mine quarry materials (for construction purposes).
Dr Rainford said if persons plan to mine high-purity limestone, they would then apply for a mining lease because high-purity limestone is defined as a mineral, which would require a different approach.
“There are two different regimes which govern the mining or exploitation of limestone in our country,” he explained, adding that once the application for a lease is done, the applicant would need to ensure that he or she has a quarry plan or a mine development plan, which would include a business plan, and show how the mining or quarrying would progress to ensure sustainability and adherence to high environmental standards.
The principal director informed that the minerals sector impacts many other segments of the economy.
“Without mining, we would not have roads or buildings. It, therefore, means that the equipment that is needed has to be in place and operating efficiently,” he said.