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Country has opportunity to supply aggregates in region – PM

Published:Tuesday | March 21, 2023 | 12:39 AM

Jamaica has an opportunity to satisfy some of the regional demand for aggregates, says Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Delivering his 2023-24 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on March 16, Holness noted that the demand has expanded significantly as a result of the closure of large quarries serving the North American market.

He also cited the increased demand for limestone to facilitate construction of buildings and infrastructure in fast-growing areas, such as Guyana, and housing construction in Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands and other countries.

The PM reported that various local businesses have been seeking to identify potential locations from which aggregates can be mined and exported to the respective countries.

Holness pointed out that logistics is a critical element of the considerations to ensure success, by reducing the cost of transport and mitigating the impact to road infrastructure.

“I have tasked the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) to explore the feasibility of developing ports in Trelawny and St Thomas, where there are concentrations of quarries and medium/large operators,” he said.

He stated that construction of a new public aggregate port is expected to cost in the region of US$20 million and will take over a year.

In the meantime, to address the short-term requirements, Holness said the PAJ has been exploring the use of ports belonging to the bauxite and alumina firms, Reynolds, Port Kaiser, Port Rhodes, Rocky Point, Port Esquivel and the gypsum port.

“The private sector can be assured that the Government, through the PAJ, will do whatever it can to support the development of this new mining opportunity,” the prime minister added.