Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Hylton signs contract to allow study of river deposits
The Gleaner
January 21 2002

MINISTER OF Mining and Energy, Anthony Hylton, has signed a document
formalising the Sedimentary Basin Resource Assessment (SEBRA) project, which
will examine and characterise sand and gravel deposits in the Yallahs River in St.
Thomas and the Rio Minho in Clarendon.

This project is being funded at a cost of $8.5 million by the Environmental Foundation
of Jamaica (EFJ) and will be implemented jointly by the Mines and Geology Division
of the Ministry and the Department of Geology and Geography at the University of the
West Indies (UWI), Mona.

The signing took place at the Division's offices at Hope Gardens in Kingston, last

Mr. Hylton said the need for more training and effective management and regulation of
quarrying activities. "A partnership of this type is an example of the way we ought to
be proceeding and I hope to see more of these," he said.

The Minister had special commendation for the EFJ in coming forward with funding for
the project. Citing his own involvement in the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) debt arrangement a decade ago that gave rise to the
organisation, Mr. Hylton expressed great satisfaction at the progress made by the

Project manager at the EFJ, Albert Daley, said support for the project was consistent
with its identified priority area of managing Jamaica's watersheds and other protected

The $8.5 million grant, he said, was one of the largest made by the institution since
its inception, adding that this was "indicative of the high level of confidence we have
in this project as far as its nature and scope are concerned."

Mr. Daley also welcomed the involvement of the UWI, citing previous collaborations
with the International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (ICENS) on lead
abatement in Kintyre, as well as an asbestos mitigation project.

Professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at the UWI, Trevor Jackson,
said the University was seeking to encourage research with sponsorship from outside
the campus.

The institution, he added, had a proven track record of quality research and was
seeking to build even further on this legacy.

Professor Ronald Young, Dean of the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences,
welcomed the venture, adding that the scientific community was concerned about the
continued low public profile accorded to science and its perceived role in society.

The SEBRA project will see a geologist from the Mines and Geology Division
conducting the study, with the data going towards the geologist's Master of
Philosophy in Geology studies at the UWI. The information will also be used to guide
future actions, as well as form the base for a draft national policy on river
sedimentation. From the results of the initial study, a handbook of 'Best Practices'
will be developed for use by current and future quarry operators.

Among the areas to be covered in the study are variations in sand and gravel flows in
relation to demand; the identification of alternative sources of sand, such as crushed
limestone; land use issues and the negative impact of sand/gravel quarrying on host