The most important economic mineral in the parish of St. Ann is bauxite. The low-grade ore is a soft to moderately hard, red earthly material with an alumina content of about 50%, iron oxide – about 20%, silica – less than 3%, titania – about 2%, and combined water of about 27%. It is of the terra Rosa type and fills solution pockets, depressions and glades in the limestone. The deposits have practically no over-burden and many are of considerable size, the reserves amounting to millions of tons. The maximum thickness in the deepest pockets exceeds 20 metres, while the average mineable thickness is in the range of 3-9 metres. St. Ann is one of three parishes in Jamaica with the largest deposits of bauxite in the island; the other two parishes are Manchester and St. Elizabeth. The parish of St. Ann has the largest concentration of bauxite-aluminium mining and export activities.
The prospect for growth in the sub-sector of parish mining industry appears very favourable owing to the presence of deposits of high quality whiting which is in great demand abroad particularly for use in the filler industries. There are also deposits of commercial marble within the parish one of which is exploited at Lumsden.
Other deposits of whiting have been reported to be located in the areas of Davis Town, and the Reynolds Belt Line areas. High quality White Limestone suitable for use as whiting has also been found in the Colgate area, with a section of this deposit extended into the Fern Gully conservation area. Hard limestone suitable for the lime and construction industries occurs in three large deposits in the hills above St. Ann’s Bay.
St. Ann has some of Jamaica’s leading tourist attractions and Ocho Rios has grown from a sleepy fishing village to bidding for Jamaica’s leading tourist centre. Next to Montego Bay in St. James, St. Ann generates large amounts of income from tourism, one of the leading sectors to sustain and rebuild our economy.
Cruise Passenger Arrivals
Prior to the opening of the Falmouth Cruise Shipping Pier, Ocho Rios seemed destined to remain on top in the cruise shipping business, despite efforts by Montego Bay, and to a lesser extent Port Antonio, to compete. It is much easier for vessels to hit Ocho Rios ports than to endure additional cruising and costs to lines when they cruise to Montego Bay. Apart from these obstacles, the facilities in the second city are adequate but may not accommodate the newer and larger vessels full use of their turning basin at those ports, vis-à-vis in Ocho Rios.