UNDP/EU provides business boost for development of minerals industry

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU), through the delivery of a training and reference resource manual, have sought to boost the development and business capabilities of the local minerals sector.

Speaking in a recent handover event, Denise Antonio, UNDP resident representative in the country said that the international development organisation was on a mission to boost the skills of operators in the sector. The 20-page handbook will act as a guide in providing useful information to enhance entrepreneurial training, creating knowledge products and building the capacities of operators and the private sector.

“The cultivation of these valuable skills among miners, artisans and other representatives of the mineral sector through this learn at your own pace guide is a welcomed development. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can now learn how to build and grow profitable, sustainable and resilient operations free of charge. Users will be able to hone their skills in business planning, finance and banking, managing business risk and developing the entrepreneurial mindset. The content also provides sufficient guide on how the private mining sector can seek lines of credit and other resources from approved financial institutions in the local market to grow their enterprises,” Antonio said.

“I urge miners, artisans and other members of the sector to learn as much as they can from this free resource which is provided digitally and in hard copy,” she added.

Valerie Veira, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) endorsed the development of the sector, particularly the small players.

“What we are hoping and really working at is to ensure that the MSMEs remove themselves from the sidelines, and through the support that they are getting out of this very important programme, to really come into mainstream business development and implementation and to move from seeing their operations as just survival to that of a business opportunity. This manual is really a reference tool for building the capacity to participate in this business,” she said.

“There are many business opportunities from the raw material to the market place. There are creative possibilities from fashion, gift and craft that we normally do not associate with mining. Mining is earth, it’s mineral — it is a raw material that can take us to many other business opportunities, and the creative industry needs to be a key part of this process,” Veira said.

The UNDP had earlier provided sponsorship to some 12 small-scale artisans and mining enterprises (ASMEs) in the form of grants totalling €51,000 or approximately $9 billion to support their businesses and emergency response to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The grants were disbursed under the African Caribbean and Pacific- European Union’s (ACP-EU) development minerals programme in partnership with the mines and geology division of the ministry of transport and mining.

“These initiatives will enhance the survival of businesses at all levels in the development minerals sector, with continued collaboration to help Jamaica achieve its vision 2030,” Antonio said.

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