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Quarry operators to be trained to police themselves

Published:Saturday | December 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

With just five inspectors to check the more than 200 quarries across the island, the Mines and Geology Division in the Ministry of Transport and Mining has accepted that it will not be able to properly police each facility.

Instead, the division is implementing a system where quarry operators are able to regulate themselves.

"We need more inspectors but we won't be able to afford it right now, so what we do in that case is try and have seminars and workshops for the quarry operators and actually try and teach them, guide them to regulate themselves.

"So if you know that this is the right way to go, it will be fewer burdens on the office," said Commissioner of Mines Roy Nicholson.

He told The Sunday Gleaner that ideally the division needs another five or six inspectors, dedicated to mining and quarrying activities, but without the required number, the plan is to train quarry managers so that they can run their enterprise much better and the division can survive with the inspectors it now has.




"To be an inspector you must have a first degree in a science-based discipline, and then, because it is a very unique profession, you learn on the job.

"So you come in as an engineer, you would have your base, and say for the first six months you would actually be taught what you are supposed to look for," said Nicholson.

Starting January, the first group of quarry managers are expected to start studies at Excelsior Community College.

"We will be in collaboration with The Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica, and we are going to launch a certificate course for quarry managers because we are trying to improve the knowledge level and the capability of quarry operators," said Nicholson.

"As we look further, we are looking for self-regulation by them, so the only way we can do that is to try and empower them with the necessary knowledge, how to operate a quarry efficiently so that they, too, can benefit in terms of making more profit.

"By making more profit for themselves in accordance with the environmental practices and the engineering practices, then the country, too, will benefit. We will earn more from quarry taxes, which will basically enhance or increase our input to the GDP," added Nicholson.