Government of Jamaica

A+ A A-

Background Information

The Jamaica Geological Survey was officially started in 1859 with its first director, British Scholar, Lucas Barrett. The Survey was based on the request by Sir Henry Barkley, ( Governor of Jamaica, 1853-1856), for a complete and systematic mineral survey of the island. It was under the auspices of the Colonial Office: Colonial Secretariat Law, February 7, 1870, that the Survey was formalized. Early activities of the Survey consisted of economic mineral surveys with an emphasis on copper as well as mapping on a parish basis. The outputs of the Survey were in the form of reports, exhibition and maps, which were presented to the Governor as well as made available to England.

No official geological survey existed between 1925-1950 due to the economic constraints of the island, however, independent geological contributions were made by Dr. C.A. Matley, Dr. G.N Stockley amongst others. Dr. C.A. Matley was appointed Government geologist and under his tenure the assessment of the ground water potential for the island was conducted, in addition, one of the most extensive collection of Jamaican fossils was provided and is currently housed in England.

By 1949, the Directorate of the Office of Colonial Geological Surveys recommended that a Geological Survey be re-established after its suspension during the war years. The Survey became functional under the auspices of the Ministry of Development and Welfare with Professor V.A. Zans (a Lativa national) as director. It introduced aerial photography used to support traditional methods of geological evaluations. Systematic survey across the island as well as work on karst morphology, geo-hydrology, bauxite, industrial minerals and the geology of the Blue Mountains were done.

In1951, the Geological Survey was physically relocated from Duke Street to the East Wing of the Institute of Jamaica and became apart of the then Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. During the 1950s, emphasis was placed on economic mineral surveys and generating revenue from the exploitation and sale of valuable resources.
In 1961, the Survey moved to its current location at Hope Gardens and the Ministry of Development and Welfare was assigned the responsibility of funding its operation. During this period, under the directorship of Dr. L.J. Chubb, the functions of the Survey changed with greater assistance being given to bauxite, petroleum exploration and providing services to foreign geologists and industrialists.
The Mining Law was formulated in 1947 and administered by the Commissioner of Lands and Mines. The Department of Mines was later formed in 1957 to meet the challenges of the bauxite industry under an independent Commissioner. The Department of Mines and the Geological Survey shared the same building as a result of close liaison. The Department of Mines then became the Mines and Quarries Division and was responsible for administering the mining and quarrying laws of Jamaica.

A number of entities were established out of the activities of the Mines Department and the Geological Survey, these include:

  • Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), formerly the Research Unit of the Department of Mines, was established in 1973 to manage the country's bauxite resources.
  • Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) was established in 1978 to develop indigenous energy resources.
  • The Underground Water Authority, formerly apart of the Geological Survey, was established in 1984 and later became the Water Resources Authority in 1996. It is responsible for the management, protection, controlled allocation and use of Jamaica's water resources.

In 1973, the Geological Survey and Department of Mines were merged to form Mines and Geology Division (MGD), however, in 1978, the Survey was designated an independent entity and attached to the Ministry of Mining and Energy with Dr. Arthur Geddes as director.

In 1996, the Geological Survey and the Mines and Quarries Division remerged to form MGD and attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Mining. In 1997, however, MGD became one of three divisions in the newly formed Ministry of Mining and Energy, which was eventually abolished in October of 2002. The MGD has maintained its functions and was apart of the Ministries of Land and Environment, Agriculture and Lands, Energy, Mining and Telecommunications as well as Ming and Telecommunications.It is currently a division of the Ministry of Energy and Mining.;Mr. Clinton Thompson has been the Commissioner since May 2007.

Ministerial Heads for MGD (formerly the Geological Survey and Mines and Quarries Division) from 1949-present

Ministry of Mines and Lands (1949-1951)

Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (1951-1957)

Ministry of Development and Welfare (1957-1968)

Ministry of Finance and Planning (1968-1973)

Ministry of Natural Resources (1973-1978)

Ministry of Mining and Energy (1978-1985)

Ministry of Mining, Energy and Tourism (1985-1989)

Ministry of Mining and Energy (1989-1992)

Ministry of Production, Mining and Commerce (1992-1993)

Ministry of Public Utilities, Mining and Energy (1993-1994)

Ministry of Agriculture and Mining (1994-1997)

Ministry of Mining and Energy (1997-October 2002)

Ministry of Land and Environment (October 2002-March 2006)

Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (April 2006-September 2007)

Ministry of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications (Sept. 2007-June 2008

Ministry of Mining and Telecommunications (June 2008-April 2009)

Ministry of Energy and Mining (April 2009 - January 2012)

Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (January 2012-Present)



Mines & Geology Division
Ministry of Transport & Mining

address: Hope Gardens, Kingston 6
(876) 927-1936
e-mail us: Click Here

Sign In or Create Account