Lydford Mining taps into lucrative limestone industry

Leo Cousins and Vincent Hill are engineers by profession who have mined success in the Jamaican hills. They are the owners of Lydford Mining, a multi-million dollar operation located in St. Ann, the birth parish of Reggae legend Bob Marley.

The mining and processing operation is an investor’s dream with full order books for limestone products, zero debt and extensive reserves of high grade limestone. Their tale of success is one of vision and perseverance.

Established in 1991 as a limited liability company, Lydford Mining weathered the early storm when local bauxite companies declined to pick up their merchandise. The resilient team eventually managed to land the US-based J.M. Huber Corporation, with its subsidiary Huber Engineered Materials, as their first customer. With that initial single order of whiting grade limestone, the company charted upward in an aggressive growth spurt that continues today.

Lydford Mining currently exports 120,000 tonnes of high purity limestone, 100,000 tonnes of industrial grade and 2,000 tonnes of ground material each year.  In addition to J.M. Huber, the company’s client list also includes the US-based Mississippi Lime Company and Chilean company Electroandina.

Lydford Mining also sells its limestone to local manufacturers who use it in processing fertilizers, animal feed, fillers for plastics and paints and many other industrial products. Before the company commenced operations, all these products were imported at twice the cost in most cases.

The company’s staff complement has grown from six in 1991 to 60 in 2014, and the rental of 25 trucks and six pieces of mining equipment has created additional employment for at least 30 workers.

Through the years, the resourceful team of Cousins and Hill has invested significantly in state-of-the-art technology – a move that has kept productivity at optimal levels. They are currently in the process of expanding their high-tech lab, which is used to analyse and test processed material.

With their sights set on a larger share of the world market, where there is demand for food and medical/pharmaceutical grade limestone, Cousins and Hill are currently working on securing a US$4 million investment to bring this goal to fruition. According to Cousins, the future plans to increase output of the higher profit-yielding, value-added limestone products are predicated on the quality of Jamaican limestone and the enabling business climate.

“After all, without quality, we wouldn’t exist…With its numerous viable investment possibilities, economic and political stability, Jamaica is both a reliable and dynamic quality brand,” says Cousins.