The Quarries Control (Amendment) Act 2015 came into effect on the 26th day of June, 2015. The Act introduces new provisions regarding fines and offences, buffer zone, quality control and fitness for purpose, chain of custody, transfer of licence and quarry management.
Fines and Enlarge Offences
1. The fine for first offence of operating a quarry without a licence has been increased from $30,000.00 to a fine not to exceed 1,000,000.00. For a second or subsequent conviction the fine has been increased from $50,000.00 to a maximum of $2,000,000.00.
2. All the different activities associated with illicit quarrying have been captured, whereas before only operating a quarry without a licence was an offence. These activities include:
- Persons who extract, purchase, stockpile, transport or dispose of quarry material without a licence
- Persons who aid and abet the activities in (2i) iii. The use of “mechanical motorized equipment” to carry out the activities in (2i).
The fine for illicit quarrying utilising mechanical motorized equipment is set at $1,500,000.00 and or imprisonment for a term not to exceed 18 months. For a second or subsequent conviction, the fine is increased to a maximum of $2,500,000.00 and/or up to 2 years imprisonment.
Buffer Zone of 15 Meters
3. A mandatory buffer zone of 15 meters between the land on which the quarry is located and the adjoining properties will be imposed. Persons engaging in quarrying will be required to seek the permission of the adjoining land owners in order to operate the quarry closer than fifteen meters to the boundary.
Quality Control and Fitness for Purpose
4. The applicant seeking to operate a quarry must sign a written declaration certifying that the origin of the samples submitted with his application.
5. The Commissioner of Mines or a designated third party is authorised to supervise the extraction of sample as necessary.
6. It is an offence to give a false declaration in respect of a sample, punishable in the first instance by a fine not to exceed $500,000.00 and or imprisonment of up to six months. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, a fine not to exceed $1,000,000.00 and or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year is the penalty.
7. The Quarries Advisory Committee (QAC) is charged to consider the intended use of the quarry material or mineral based on its physical, chemical or other similar characteristics and its fitness for the intended purpose before making a recommendation to the Minister for the grant or refusal of a licence.
Chain of Custody
8. The Commissioner of Mines or the Jamaica Constabulary Force may request that a transporter or retailer of quarry material show their receipt or dispatch voucher for the quarry material or mineral. A person who transports, retails or is in possession of quarry material without a dispatch voucher or receipt will be fined a sum not exceeding $50,000.00 and or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.
Transfer of Licence now Permitted with Consent
9. The amendment stipulates that a licensee will not be permitted to transfer any interest or any part thereof without the permission, in writing, of the Minister. This is more permissive than what existed in the Quarries Control Act.
10. This is a new provision which requires quarries of a particular size to employ a quarry manager. The purpose of this amendment is to improve the supervision of quarries by requiring that a quarry be under the management of a certified quarry manager possessing certain prescribed competencies. This ensures safety, environmental and engineering best practices.