Hunt for gold

Encouraging early signs in latest search for precious minerals in Jamaica

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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A fresh search is now under way for precious metals, including gold, in sections of six parishes across the island, and Robert “Bobby” Stewart, the man leading the company doing the exploration, Geophysx Jamaica, says the early signs are encouraging.

“We are finding multiple minerals. We are finding copper, zinc, lead, and there is evidence of precious metals as well, but primarily we are not focussed on one element,” Stewart told the Jamaica Observer last Saturday after he had completed an address to the annual general meeting of the Geological Society of Jamaica.

“All the permits we put down are listed nominally as gold because it is the most valuable element, but in reality, when you look behind that, we have actually permitted each of them for multiple elements,” added Stewart as he noted that the company has applied for and received exclusive permits to explore areas in Clarendon, Portland, St Andrew, St Catherine, St Mary, and St Thomas, with some success so far.

“In the case of three of the licences we have done the surface checks and the mapping and we are at the stage where we are ready to go below the surface,” said Stewart as he underscored that there was no guarantee of success.

“Generally speaking, you have to realise that the odds of succeeding is 1,000 to one as a base. If we get really lucky with some of the things, it falls to 100 to one, but more importantly it takes a tremendous amount of capital to move to mining,” added Stewart.

He said the company plans to start drilling on these three sites, two in St Mary and one in St Andrew, by October, with other sites expected to be ready for drilling by then.

“If we find viable prospects I think it would be good to find a way to work to develop them into commercial production because this would be a major boost for Jamaica's economy,” declared Stewart.

He noted that Geophysx Jamaica is a privately held and funded mineral exploration company which has been operational in Jamaica since 2017.

“The company's name signifies our intent to do everything across the entire spectrum to understand and discover the physical make-up and the geology of the island. This includes exploration and mapping, operational safety, geochemistry, electromagnetic and magnetic surveying techniques, drone operation and, perhaps most importantly, diamond core drilling.

“We also operate the largest sample and data collection team in the region, and work closely with best-in-field minds from various parts of the world, to obtain the best training and guidance in all relevant geosciences, including novel techniques,” said Stewart.

According to Stewart, having seen the environmental degradation caused by mining operations in some parts of the world, Geophysx is committed to ensuring that it does not harm the environment in the areas that it operates.

“The environment is of the utmost importance to us because if we make a mistake in how we approach the environment, it is the end of our business. In the different areas that we are working we have actually already put terms of planning on what will be done with the mined land… and years in advance we have already thought how to approach the environmental issues, how to keep it clean and the land use after,” said Stewart.

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