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Jamaica minister targets mining diversification

Bnamericas Published: Monday, May 23, 2022
Jamaica minister targets mining diversification

Jamaican mining minister Audley Shaw called for more diversification in the country’s mining industry, with the nation facing possible exhaustion of its bauxite reserves in the coming two decades.

“It would be a dangerous mistake if we don’t plan for life after bauxite and alumina,” local daily Jamaica Gleaner quoted Shaw as saying at the Manchester Bauxite and Alumina Conference, in Mandeville.

The minister said there was an urgent need for development of other minerals, with a number of bauxite plants now permanently closed.

This could include a shift to exploration and development of limestone, which makes up about 70% of the island’s surface, with 50Bt of mineable reserves, Cheyne Howell, geologist in the mines and geology department of the ministry, said.

“Based on the preliminary indication that we have, Jamaica is a blessed country,” said Shaw.

“There is gold, copper and… rare earth minerals in this country, and we have reached that point now where we have to spread out our wings beyond bauxite and look for other God-given items that we have.”

BNamericas lists four early-stage copper-gold exploration projects in Jamaica, including C3 Metals’ Bellas Gate, Main Ridge and Hungry Gully assets.

Jamaica ranks among the world’s top 10 bauxite producers globally, with output of 5.8Mt last year, and fifth for bauxite reserves, at 2Bt, according to the US Geological Survey.

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