My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: OZ Minerals of Australia prospecting for Copper in Jamaica - How to get into Mining Minerals in Jamaica

Saturday, May 3, 2014

OZ Minerals of Australia prospecting for Copper in Jamaica - How to get into Mining Minerals in Jamaica

“The cheapest market to get into is the limestone market, that's why we went into it. The reason we are not in copper and gold is that we wouldn't have enough capital, even if we found (deposits), to develop it”

Managing Director and Senior Partner of Local limestone quarry operators Lydford Mining Leo Cousins speaking on Mining of Precious Metals in Jamaica

There is now increasing interest in Mining Precious Metals in Jamaica, specifically Copper, with a fourth company, OZ Minerals of Australia , coming to attempt to mine the mineral and make it commercially viable as stated in “Four prospecting for copper in Jamaica”, Published Friday May 2, 2014 by Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

This even as there is still now no news on the progress of the Test Pilot Plant for Rare Earth Metal set up jointly by Japan’s Nippon Light Metal Company Limited and the JBI (Jamaica Bauxite Institute) as stated in my blog article entitled “Rare Earth Metal Pilot Plant at Jamaica Bauxite Institute to test Rare Earth Extraction Process - Nippon Light Metal Company Limited keen to beat China using Red Mud from Bauxite Companies”, results for which should have been released back in March 2014!

At US$6,700 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange, it’s a lot more valuable than Bauxite Mining, which comes in at US$300 per tonne as stated in my blog article entitled “Japan’s Nippon Light Metal Company Limited to mine Rare Earth elements in Jamaica - Jack Reacher recycling gadgets for Rare Earth Elements”.

The Four Copper Musketeers are as Follows:

1.      OZ Minerals of Australia
2.      Carube Resources Inc of Canada
3.      Rio Minerals Jamaica Limited of Canada
4.      Rodinia Resources Pty Ltd of Australia

Gold isn’t working out in Jamaica, with Australian company Ausjam kicking the bucket back in 2003 after only extracting 12,000 ounces from their Pennants, Clarendon Mine. Apparently with only 3000 to 4000 ounces left to dig out of the ground, it wasn't worth it.

Still, my sources tell me that they may still be in the island to prospect for more Gold as stated in my blog article entitled AUSJAM and the Pennants Gold Mine Rush - King Solomon's Mines in Clarendon”, as the price of Gold is still high enough for it to be worth it.

What makes many so reluctant to take the plunge into Mining?

The cost of Mineral Analysis, which may not available in Jamaica according to Managing Director and Senior Partner of Local limestone quarry operators Lydford Mining Leo Cousins, explains why, quote: “A big part of the risk is in the first year or two when you have to drill a lot of Holes and send the samples abroad where there are sophisticated labs to be sure that the deposits is viable”.

So will OZ Minerals of Australia or any of the other four (4) Copper Prospectors strike it rich? If they do, 5% belongs to the GOJ (Government of Jamaica), based on value of the raw ore as it’s extracted and confirmed by the results of Metallurgical Assays!

Where to Dig – How to get into Mining Minerals in Jamaica

Lydford Mining sticks with Limestone Mining as it’s easier to mine and makes more money. But how does one get into Mining Mineral in Jamaica. Well, like Duh-uh, you have to have a Mining Company first, that’s registered right and proper with the Company Registrars Office. Then you apply to the Commissioner of Lands for a one (1) year Prospecting License.

The Prospecting License has to be renewed annually. To get that Prospecting License you’ll need:

1.      Work plan
2.      Proof of financial standing
3.      Inform land owners before digging
4.      Carry out Metallurgical Assays on samples from Bore Holes
5.      Report all results to the Commissioner of Mines

The first two are par for course. The others aren’t so easy.

Informing the landowners is a must, as they must be afforded the ability to give you the Mining Company fourteen (14) days or two (2) weeks’ notice before you start digging Bore Holes to test Samples. This as “they can't just barge onto the land without notifying them” to quote Commissioner of Mines Clinton Thompson!

And if that isn’t tough enough, there is the aforementioned Cost of Metallurgical Assays on samples from Bore Holes. Depending on what Mineral you are Mining, that can run you into thousands of US$ for just testing of samples alone, as most of the samples have to be sent abroad.

This initial stage, often referred to as Prospecting, usually stretches over a two (2) year period.

It involves drilling Bore Holes of about 100 to 200 feet deep with core samples being taken every 5 to 10 feet and sent off for assay at a cost of about US$3000 at the top end or more, depending on the number of tests and the mineral being sought. Why these tests are so expensive?

It boils down to the operation of the Drilling Rig and the cost of Reagents involved in the Chemical Assay process, which not only requires expensive reagents and sophisticated equiptment, but also skilled certified Chemists, to quote Commissioner of Mines Clinton Thompson: “During the exploration, they drill a number of Holes and it depends on what they are finding or not finding. If the results are encouraging, they will dig more to determine feasibility of the mine but drilling is very expensive and the chemical tests to be done are also costly”.

Once commercial extraction of Copper, said to be the second most abundant mineral after Alumina in Jamaica, begins, it has to be exported abroad to be extracted. Like Bauxite, we don’t have the ability to extract Copper from its ore, a process which requires huge amounts of Sulphuric Acid and Electrolysis – and lots of Cheap Hydroelectric Power!

I’m hopeful, even as I await news on the results of the Test Pilot Plant for Rare Earth Metal set up jointly by Japan’s Nippon Light Metal Company Limited and the JBI (Jamaica Bauxite Institute) as explained in my blog article entitled No news on progress of the Rare Earth Pilot Plant at JBI - Cuba-Jamaica CFL Project Heralds manufacturing of LED's, Li-Ion Batteries and Sapphire Screens in Jamaica”. 


Hopefully, when the Trailers leave with Copper Ore and the Test Pilot Plant results for Rare Earth Metal from the RDA (Residue Disposal Area) results in Commercial Plants being built, we can also have a Trailer Load of Money, Vybz Kartel Style, coming into Jamaica as well!
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