Bauxite and Minerals Sector Primed for Growth: Jamaican Mining Minister

Jamaica’s Transport and Mining Minister Lester “Mike” Henry told reporters on Sunday that his country’s bauxite and minerals sector show a significant potential for growth in the coming months and years.

Henry, who was addressing members of his ministry at a weekend retreat, said that a policy shift in the direction of downstream operations profit sharing and an increased use of the “world’s finest quality limestone” is positioning the island for growth in its mining sector.

Minister Henry went on to lament the under-utilization of the country’s minerals industry, assuring the assemblage that the government will do everything it can to expand the limestone trade, especially to the global pharmaceutical industry. Also at issue is what he characterized as the underutilization of calcium hydroxide (a/k/a “white lime”), which the island’s bauxite industry is required to import.

Jamaica could rake in an increase in foreign exchange should it increase production of these resources to above 340,000 metric tons per annum, he argued. To that end, Henry has given instructions for his ministry to develop policies to spur on the sector, create new mining jobs, and establish a basis for renewed growth and development, he said.

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