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On the day when bauxite fell to US$1,300 per ton, Prime Minister Bruce Golding was briefed on the status of all bauxite companies at the first meeting of the Bauxite Industry Monitoring Committee, today, (February 17) at Jamaica House.
Speaking of the need for the industry to use this time to improve on energy efficiency, Prime Minister Golding said, “We are going to move as purposefully as is necessary to address those areas of efficiency that are energy related. We are in pretty advanced discussions now about dealing with that problem. We are looking beyond the crisis for when the market begins to recover; when greater efficiency will be demanded. We have to prepare ourselves so that we can make a quantitative leap in efficiency levels.”
The bauxite companies in production said that efforts are being made to reduce wastage and contract costs in order to minimise any further cuts to the workforce and their wages and salaries. Activities being employed at other companies include site clean-up, equipment maintenance, workforce training and the implementation of some investment plans.
With regards to sale of ore and alumina, the Prime Minister reminded that he met with international bauxite interests at a recent conference in Montego Bay, St. James. “We have been working towards securing some special market arrangements to see where in the price spectrum we would be able to settle and which plants can be synchronised there”, Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister also indicated that he is anxious to move ahead on issues that require action from multiple Government agencies, such as the preparation of land titles for approved settlement projects.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Dwight Nelson, will chair the monitoring committee which has a representative from the Opposition, Member of Parliament for South Manchester; the Jamaica Bauxite Institute; the Washington Group; JBM/BATCO; four bauxite companies (Alpart, WINDALCo, JAMALCO and St Ann Bauxite) and four unions (National Workers Union (NWU), the Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (UTASP), the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU).