Mines and Geology Division looks to develop manufactured sand industry

Sand mining activities in Yallahs, St Thomas

The Mines and Geology Division in the Ministry of Transport and Mining has embarked on a project for the development of the manufactured-sand industry.

Deputy Commissioner of Mines, Stacey Plummer, said that the objective is to provide a useful substitute for river sand, due to the challenges being experienced in sourcing the natural material.                                          

“There is not a lot of material in the rivers because of the drought and other factors, so we have to find another source of construction material,” she noted. “Exploration has been done and we are now working on getting additional investments for manufactured sand as a replacement for what we are not able to naturally produce,” she added.

Plummer noted that some companies have already begun work in this area, with limestone and volcanic sources being utilised to produce fine aggregate.

A limestone quarry in Rockfort, Kingston.

“So far, there is Jamaica Aggregates, which is doing some crushing [of volcanic rocks]. They also purchase from other suppliers and crush the material to produce sand,” she said. Hodges Minerals in St Elizabeth and Lydford Mining Company in St Ann are crushing limestone to sand-sized particles in their operations.

She noted that accessing financing for the sector has been challenging “but you have some players who are maximising what they are doing”.