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Great prospects for expansion of minerals sector, says minister Shaw

By Garfield L. Angus

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – There are great prospects for expansion of the minerals sector and to increase export earnings, says minister of transport and mining, Audley Shaw.

Making his contribution to the 2023/2024 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 9, he said the Mines and Geology Division (MGD) is undertaking exploration for high-purity limestone, and that surface geological studies conducted recently at Redgate and Fort Charles in St Elizabeth identified large deposits of high-purity limestone.

“Given the findings, subsurface exploration will be done by drilling that deposit at Fort Charles to determine the characteristics of the material at depth,” he said.

“These limestone deposits have the potential for rapid economic development and are used for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, such as antacids and excipients for tablets, and products used widely in the construction sector, like paints, cultured marble, adhesives, caulks and sealants,” the minister added.

Shaw said limestone is a versatile raw material, and the local manufacturing sector “should capitalise on our natural endowment.”

The minister pointed out that Jamaica possesses some of the best quality limestone in the Americas, which accounts for more than 75 percent of the country’s surface geology, and current estimates indicate minable resources are exceeding 40 billion tonnes.

“Limestone has nearly 100 percent calcium carbonate content, which is used in various high-value industrial applications. In the coming years, the increased exploitation of our limestone resources and reserves will become a more important part of the country’s minerals sector. As the country moves to extract the best return from these resources, significant value addition must be a major component of our limestone industry,” Shaw said.

The minister told the House that the minerals industry has served the country well and is “dynamic and requires us to be adaptive and resilient”, adding that the ministry and its agencies will continue to work with other government and private partners to manage “this industry and secure the future of Jamaica’s minerals sector.”



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