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Good Gold and Copper prospects says Paulwell

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 2:00 AM
Phillip Paulwell

Despite a massive reduction in the budget for mining and exploration, portfolio minister Phillip Paulwell said the government has not given up on finding metals in its soil, noting that what the state is doing is pulling back and creating space for the private sector.

The allocation for non-bauxite metallic mining exploration is to be reduced to $1.9 million next fiscal year down from $4.3 million this fiscal year. Paulwell said the reduced expenditure is due to the Government deciding that it will "no longer be involved in leading exploration".

Based on information contained in the Estimates of Expenditure, the metallic minerals exploration unit has the objective of providing a phased evaluation of the precious and base metals potential of the land. The unit is also charged with generating the metallic minerals database of the island and promoting and encouraging investment in the non-bauxite metallic mining sector.

"There are very good prospects for gold and copper," Paulwell told The Gleaner, relying on what he said were results of exploration activities talking place in several St Catherine communities.

More info to come

The minister, though, said he was not prepared to divulge much at this stage, saying that he would be speaking more about "a major initiative" involving gold and copper when he makes his contribution to the annual Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives in April.

"What I can tell you is that it is very encouraging. The surveys are going very well and the results are very encouraging," the minister said.

Meanwhile, the allocation to non-metallic mineral exploration is being reduced from $3 million to $2.3 million. The area relates to the identification and evaluation of economically viable deposits of industrial minerals and the provision of assistance to investors in primarily geological evaluation, analysis, and definition of minerals and reserves.