Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios to be upgraded
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
LYDFORD MINING Limited on Thursday announced a record shipment of 43,000 tonnes of limestone from the old Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
At the same time, the company announced a US$14-million development plan that includes revamping the port for limestone export.
The limestone tonnage represented the largest-ever single shipment from the port and will be followed by another shipment of 25,000 tonnes in March. The limestone is to be used in coal-fired power plants to reduce the carbon-dioxide emissions from flue gasses, according to information released by the company.
But to accommodate ships capable of loading 50,000 tonnes, and to upgrade the loading facilities to 2,500 tonnes per hour, upgrading work has to be carried out on the pier.
Senior partner and managing director of Lydford Mining, Leo Cousins, disclosed that there are financiers abroad who are ready to support the overall project.
"The port was originally constructed to load bauxite at a rate of 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes per hour. It is our intention to resuscitate the equipment that was there back to the original 2,500 tonnes per hour," Cousins said.
"In order to do this, we have to invest several million US dollars, but there are financiers abroad who are prepared to support us in this venture," he added.
Cousins, however, did not say who the financiers were.
"This ship that is here is owned by TBS International in New York and they own 50 ships, starting from 10,000 tonnes up to 50,000 tonnes. It would be magical to see this ship coming in every month next year," Cousins told reporters gathered at the pier to witness the company marking the occasion.
Such an investment would mean the revitalisation of the mining industry in that part of St Ann, a situation that Mining and Energy Minister James Robertson indicated would become a reality.
According to Robertson, the cruise-shipping industry and the aggregate industry will flourish together.
"I just want to indicate that Ocho Rios will have more than one industry. The cruise-shipping industry and the aggregate industry will be able to flourish together. To be able to set a record for any port is a landmark for us. We are very, very hopeful that this shipment of 43,000 tonnes will successfully be able to give us a viable, sustainable industry, starting in 2012."
The plan is to create a limestone complex at Lydford, consisting initially of crushing, screening and milling plants, with the finished product to be shipped from the port in Ocho Rios.
The project should provide more than 300 permanent positions.