Lydford Mining rings in 32nd anniversary with cutting-edge technology Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Lydford Mining Company celebrated its 32nd anniversary with a demonstration of its newly acquired surface miner. This state-of-the-art equipment is the first of its kind in Jamaica and will revolutionise Lydford’s operational efficiency and give the company a competitive edge in the global market.

Lydford was founded in 1992 by Dr. Vincent Hill and Leo Cousins with a mission to develop a world-class limestone industry in Jamaica. The company, which started out shipping 1,500 tonnes of limestone to the US, has since differentiated itself as the preeminent player in the local minerals industry – exporting 600,000 tonnes of limestone last year – an estimated value of US$10 million. This latest acquisition is expected to decrease operational costs and increase outputs in the year ahead.

In a ceremony held at the New Relief Mine Site in Golden Grove, St Ann on May 28, the company unveiled the cutting-edge surface miner.

“The Wirtgen 220 SMi surface miner performs selective extraction with unprecedented precision, and optimising the extraction of our resources. “We can produce five times the amount of material that we used to produce from each litre of fuel.” explained Jackie Hill Millington, Managing Director at Lydford Mining. “But it is about more than just increasing our output – it is also about decreasing the environmental impact on the land and the communities around our mines.”

This new machinery, which is engineered by  Wirtgen Group, enhances operational efficiency by reducing the need for drilling and blasting. As it burns a fraction of the fuel currently used, this reduces greenhouse emissions on the site. This results in lower environmental impact and improved safety conditions, demonstrating Lydford Mining’s dedication to responsible and sustainable mining practices. Residents will also benefit from reduced noise pollution and dust.

“As the mining sector evolves, it is crucial that we invest in technology to maximise efficiency and productivity but even more importantly, to minimise its impact and enhance community benefits,” said Floyd Green, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, who was present to see the surface miner in action. The Ministry is currently developing an industrial minerals policy for the sector and encouraged industry stakeholders to provide feedback and recommendations.

“Together, we’ll shape a policy focused on sustainable practices and value addition, ensuring our mining industry remains forward-thinking and community-oriented,” said Minister Green.

Representatives from the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, and the wider mining industry were also in attendance to observe the machinery and celebrate the illustrious legacy of Lydford’s founding partners.

“Celebrating 32 years of success, Lydford exemplifies the power of unwavering vision and continuous investment,” said Michael Phillips, Shadow Minister on Transport and Mining. “The story of Lydford exemplifies that with dedication and the right vision, success is attainable,” said Phillips.

The founders were celebrated for their role in developing the mining industry.  From their humble beginnings working in the Government laboratories at Hope Gardens, Hill and Cousins have had a widespread impact on the growth and development of mining in Jamaica. Hill, who passed away in 2019, was once the Commissioner of Mines. Cousins, who continues to serve as the Chairman Emeritus of Lydford was a contractor providing aggregates for the Alcoa Alumina Plant.

“I know my co-founder, Dr Hill, would be equally as proud to see how Lydford Mining has grown to become the preeminent player in the Jamaican industrial minerals industry. I share my hearty congratulations with the Management team and staff who continue to carry on the legacy of innovation and expertise which we started so many years ago,” said Cousins in an address to guests at the Founders’ Day celebrations.

Lydford is slated to complete loading of 50,000 tonnes of chemical-grade limestone this week, to be shipped to a power plant in Florida for critical environmental application – that is, flue gas desulfurization which effectively removes harmful emissions from the atmosphere. The company is also preparing to ship 37,000 tonnes of high-purity limestone in June. This reinforces its role as a leader in the global industrial minerals market.