Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Quarry industry shouldn’t be defined by ‘eat a food’ mentality – Nicholson

Published:Saturday | October 17, 2020 | 12:05 AMJason Cross/ Gleaner Writer

Roy Nicholson, commissioner of mines in the Mines Division of the Ministry of Transport and Mining, has charged entrepreneurs in the sector to latch on to training and improvement opportunities, encouraging them to seek not just to “eat a food” from the industry.

Nicholson was speaking recently during the virtual handover of a reference resource manual for the development of the minerals sector. Production of the handbook, now available in hard and soft copy, was made possible through funding from the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP), and was designed to boost the capacity of the sector, to ensure resilience and growth.

Having well-established quarries, Nicholson said, will make the job of regulators easier and, “small operators will know how to go about their development and not just eat a food”.

“You need to set up an operation that will contribute significantly to your development, as well as the industry and the country. We seek to partner with educational institutions to see how best we can improve training and development for the sector. We try to ensure that we provide the persons in the sector with the necessary skills, cutting-edge technology, as well as best practices. Hence, from time to time, we have our usual seminars and workshops to ensure these persons are well knowledgeable as to what is out there worldwide and use that to develop their business.”

TRAINING COMPLETED

He said the Mines and Geology Division recently completed the training and certification programme with 18 students, who were the first cohort of quarry monitors, and called for the continued assistance of the UNDP to be able to finance the online training of future cohorts.

“Individuals or institutions, we also seek partnership with them to ensure that this industry, which means so much to the country, can be seen as the best there is.”

Signalling big plans for University of Technology Jamaica to begin certifying members of the industry at the bachelor’s degree level, director of the faculty of Built Environment, Laurence Neufville, shared that a four-year mines and quarries programme will begin in January 2021.

“It has taken over two years because the university quality assurance committee is a very robust one. We now have a course that can stand up to scrutiny and satisfy the high quality assurance requirements of the University Council of Jamaica. We want to get quarry operators to believe and know that they are involved in a business. They need to know strategic management, the planning process, business plan preparation and also be able to prepare documents for financing.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com