Clarity on prospects for limestone sector
THE EDITOR, Sir:
With regard to the Gleaner article, 'Limestone could be a big income earner', carried on November 28, 2014 referencing my comments on the opportunities in the limestone mining industry for Jamaica, kindly allow me to clarify a few points.
At no time did I speak to the Cockpit Country during the presentation, and just to be clear, in the past when I have mentioned the Cockpit Country and mining activities, I have been a strong advocate for this very important area of our ecological system to be kept sanitised from any form of mining activities.
Similarly, my comment on the role of foreign investors was not to exclude the local investment community, many of whom are already involved in this sector.
I do believe strongly, however, that a faster way to develop this industry at the higher levels of value-added products, from chemical graded limestone, for linkages with economic concerns like the pharmaceutical and consumer food industries, is to attract players with the capital base, technology and international experience to build out a value-chain approach to this industry.
I have no doubt that within this process, local players would also have an important role and could benefit from the certain synergies that would be required.
Finally, let me use the opportunity to encourage the Government to develop and fine-tune a strategic plan for this economic potential to ensure an orderly build-out for, and in the interest of, Jamaica, and our official investment promotion agency, JAMPRO, to intensify the process of promoting this industry among the relevant international investor community, while sensitising local investors on the future prospects.