The Government is defending its decision to grant a one year bauxite levy concession to Russian aluminium producer-UC Rusal, despitegiving up US$7 million in revenue.
Responding to questions posed during the Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime (OPM), Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said there is no guarantee that the government would have collected the money if it did not grant the concession.
"If we didn't do that, I believe the scenario would be quite different today. We wouldn't have it, the US$7 million, plus we wouldn't have the 600 jobs or the production, so I think it is a win-win for us all," he stated.
Under the agreement, UC Rusal will, among other things, maintain the level of production at the Ewarton Works refinery in St. Catherine at not less than 300,000 metric tons per annum, which is half the total capacity of the plant. The concession agreement is from October 1 to September 30, 2013.
The Minister informed that in 2010, a similar approach was offered to the then Government in respect of the Kirkvine plant in Manchester "and it wasn’t pursued and that plant is closed today".
UC Rusal entered Jamaica's bauxite and alumina sector in 2007. The company currently controls approximately 2.82 million metric tons or 65.1 per cent of Jamaica’s installed alumina production capacity of 4.34 million metric tonnes per year.