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Scrap metal rakes in millions

Published:Monday | August 18, 2014 | 8:00 AM

The exportation of scrap metal has earned US$30.2 million since the trade restarted last January.

The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ), in a report on trade in metal for January to July 2014 shows that at the end of the review period, the country exported 105,736 metric tons of scrap metal, which generated the earnings.

"Our records show that since the restart of the trade in January 2013, 600 direct and approximately 2,000 indirect jobs have been created," the report read.

In May, Industry Minister Anthony Hylton told parliament that the scrap metal trade exported more than 67,000 metric tons of metal, earning over US$19.3 million.

A ban had been imposed on the trade following an outcry that thieves were making off with metal from public and private properties.

Mechanism in place

In reopening the trade, Hylton disclosed that a mechanism was established to detect when metals were stolen to prevent the purchase and exportation of stolen items.

Notwithstanding the mechanism, FCJ said there were nine reports of theft of materials from several locations during the period under review.

"The reported value to date is US$3,500 and consists mostly of metal aluminium," the report said.

The theft figure, the FCJ concedes, does not give the true picture of the plundering of property that may be taking place.

"We must highlight that although several reports have been made, the information presented is often incomplete. In fact, only one entity has indicated a value for the items stolen during that period," the report said.

- S.W.