IT equipment to help minerals industry access previously unreachable deposits

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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State of the art information technology equipment valued at some $4.183 million has been transferred to the Mines and Geology Division of the Ministry of Transport and Mining to strengthen efficiencies in identification, mining and extraction of minerals for development, growth and job creation.

The transfer was excuted under the four-year African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and European Union (EU)-financed Development Minerals Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Jamaica's Mines and Geology Division.

The equipment includes a computer server/storage area network (SAN) capable of supporting larger Geographic Information System (GIS) files and Slope Stability Assessment tools; – including aerial drones, server racks and shelves, consoles; laptop and tablet, desktop computer, binoculars, rangefinders, etc; to enable staff to use the latest technology, and improve the delivery of service.

The equipment also permits updating and ease of access to a new Development Minerals database and web map that digitises location, quantities and access routes of mineral deposits across Jamaica using geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska in her remarks at the handover said the project demonstrated Jamaica's recognition of the importance of unused resources, and the need to develop specific policies and dedicated tools in order to exploit these resources and make wider use of them for the resilience of the country.

“For this reason, I particularly appreciate the new tool of the Slope Stability Assessment that will help to fight the threats posed by land degradation, water-related risks and extreme water events related to climate modification, and [for] which we have to be prepared,” the ambassador stated.

In remarks delivered on his behalf by Dr Oral Rainford, principal director of mining/minerals policy planning and development, Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague said the technology was helping the minerals industry to create and extend market opportunities by accessing previously unreachable deposits especially using GIS technology. He noted that GIS technologies create efficiency and productivity opportunities in all aspects of mineral exploration and mining. It enables a mineral exploration geologist and mine operator to mine intelligently, efficiently, competitively, safely, and in an environmentally compatible manner.

“Information & communication technology has become one of the most important tools for enabling increased transparency, process efficiency, improving productivity, optimising operational cost, decision-making along with increasing the employee, customer and investor satisfaction, etc,” Montague stated.

UNDP Programme Specialist Richard Kelly said assets enable the utilissation of a versatile range of tools and techniques for capturing, analysing and leveraging spatial information, in this case, GIS technology.

“By implementing robust GIS software applications, professionals can capture and visualise valuable geospatial intelligence,” he said.

In underscoring UNDP's commitment to technology application in support of the industry, Kelly disclosed that the procurement of technology represented 35 per cent of the programme's budget for geo-data equipment. He said that this focus on institutional strengthening was essential to UNDP's workout of reducing poverty and catalysing wealth creation and inclusive development in pursuit of securing the sustainable development goals and leaving no one behind.

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