Development Minerals in Jamaica
Limestone is not a famous Jamaican icon, in the same way as Blue Mountain coffee, Appleton rum, Trenchtown reggae or the beaches of Montego Bay. Like so many Development Minerals the contribution of limestone to Jamaica's economic and human development is hidden.
Limestone is, by far, Jamaica's largest mineral resource. There are more than 150 limestone & sand quarries currently operating in Jamaica and an ecosystem of small businesses has emerged around the quarries to undertake services such as transport, and to manufacture products such as concrete blocks. Limestone is a source of aggregate to build roads, manufactured sand to replenish beaches, cement for the construction of buildings and bridges, and calcium carbonate for use in toothpaste, chicken feed and pharmaceuticals.
There are however, environment, social, health and safety and business development challenges associated with the sector. For example, the transport of quarried material in Jamaica creates road hazards, particularly in the vicinity of the quarries themselves, where exiting quarry trucks are sometimes concealed.
While limestone, looms large, the potential of Jamaica's Development Minerals sector includes a range of other minerals: clay, dolomite, gypsum, marble, sand, volcanics, shale, agate, amber, malachite, garnet, opal, pearl, and quartz.
In collaboration with Jamaica's Mines and Geology Division of the Ministry of Transport and Mining, a National Consultation Workshop was held on 14 – 15 April, 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica, to build awareness about the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme; gather information on the sector; identify sectoral linkages and opportunities for partnership and business creation; and develop a roadmap for the implementation of the programme.