What is gypsum used for in Jamaica?
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Answered by Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer
Rare metals and earth minerals have been long acknowledged to be precious commodities that adds to the overall economic growth and development of countries that house them.
Jamaica is rich with much of these rare earth minerals and to a magnitude that allows us to mine and export some of them.
One such mineral is (in addition to the more prominent bauxite), gypsum.
According to the Gypsum Association, gypsum is chemically known as calcium sulphate dihydrate. It is described as having a soft texture and is white or grey in colour.
Here in Jamaica, gypsum is mainly mined in the parish of St. Andrew. In this parish, there are two Business Units (which are wholly owned by Carib Cement) that conducts the mining of gypsum.
- Jamaica Gypsum & Quarries Limited
Carib Cement acquired this company in 1990 from the National Investment Bank of Jamaica, &
- Caribbean Gypsum Company Limited
This company is relatively new. It is located in Halberstadt Quarry in Bull Bay, St. Andrew. Mining at this site began in August 2014.
What Is Gypsum Used For
Gypsum is recognized as an important mineral in construction.
In Jamaica, we mainly use gypsum in the production of cement. It is used as a retarder for cement and is ground with cement in the proportion of 1 part of gypsum to 20 parts of cement
. What Does It Do To The Cement
Well, gypsum is added to cement during the manufacturing stage in order to slow the down the setting of cement.
If it is not added, the cement would set immediately after mixing it with water.
Gypsum is also used in the manufacturing of Plaster of Paris. Plaster of Paris got its name from the abundant gypsum found near Paris.
It is described as a fine white powder, but when water is added and the mixture is allowed to dry it becomes hard. Plaster of Paris is used to hold ceiling tiles and other decorative work.
In addition, gypsum, in its rare state, is also exported to the USA where it is converted into plaster. In the USA plaster is generally used in the manufacturing of wallboards (also called drywalls or plasterboards).
Wallboards are used as the finish for walls and they can also be used for partitions.
Other Uses Of Gypsum
Gypsum also has other uses, other than construction. Being a source of calcium and sulphate, it is also used as a fertilizer which promotes growth.
The uses of gypsum are also expended to the health sector. It is used as moulding material for tooth restoration and also used for making surgical casts.
So, there you go!
For more about gypsum and other natural resources in Jamaica, click here
Until next time…
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