Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Dr. Alwin Hales, says the development minerals sector has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits for Jamaica.

Dr. Hales, who was delivering the keynote address at the opening of a four-day workshop for quarry owners, operators and entrepreneurs at the Garmex Freezone complex in St. Andrew on April 4, said there are resources in the industry that are yet to be explored for the nation’s gain.

“Development minerals can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in low-income communities,” he noted.

He added that through partnerships with the Government and civil society, benefits from the sector can be extended to “positively impact on the natural environment, climate change, and social capital”.

The comprehensive business and capacity-development training administered by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) was targeted at small- and medium-scale operators in the industry.

Dr. Hales said the workshop will enable the participants to develop and employ winning marketing strategies, enhance their roadmap to business growth through planning, increase their financial literacy and acumen, and aid them to transform their communities.

“This initiative is expected to have some far-reaching impacts. We anticipate that at the grassroots level, persons in mining communities will be able to contribute to community development,” Dr. Hales said, noting that unattached youth will have the opportunity to become more “purposefully occupied”.

The workshop falls under the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Development Minerals Programme, which is funded by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the UNDP.

The three-year, €13.1-million capacity-building programme is focused on building the profile and improving the management of industrial and construction materials, dimension stones, and semi-precious stones.

(KINGSTON, April 4 (JIS))