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Story Highlights

  • The ALPART alumina refinery in Nain, St. Elizabeth, has been sold to Chinese entity Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCo).
  • The Minister assured that the Government and JISCo will be “paying great attention” to protecting the environment during the project implementation.
  • He indicated that during the ensuing months, a JISCo technical team will visit ALPART to conduct a study and develop basic designs as part of the preparatory work.

The ALPART alumina refinery in Nain, St. Elizabeth, has been sold to Chinese entity Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCo).

Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, says an interest purchase agreement negotiated between JISCo and Russian alumina firm, UC Rusal, which operated the refinery, was signed by representatives of both entities on July 19 in China.

Mr. Henry, along with Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, led a Jamaican delegation which attended the signing ceremony.

At a media briefing at the Transport and Mining Ministry in St. Andrew, on July 28, Mr. Henry said JISCo is expected to complete the full takeover of ALPART by November this year.

This will enable the entity to undertake the first phase of investment, totalling US$220 million, in the plant’s modification and upgrading.

He indicated that during the ensuing months, a JISCo technical team will visit ALPART to conduct a study and develop basic designs as part of the preparatory work.

Mr. Henry said the project is slated to run from December 2016 to December 2017, and on conclusion, “is expected to not only reduce production cost, but also enhance the effectiveness of production”.

The Minister said JISCo’s registration of a local office is expected to greatly facilitate these engagements, adding that the firm will dispatch approximately 200 persons to undertake these and other activities.

He further noted that JISCo is preparing a document that will outline its “best estimates” to allow the Ministry to make its own preparations and plans to cooperate with the company for “efficient and effective (project) implementation within the shortest possible time”.

While assuring that the Government will consider special work permits for the 200 persons “in the short term”, Mr. Henry said JISCo has been asked to provide the requisite job qualifications to ensure that “no Jamaican who is qualified for these… is left out”.

“But, equally important, JISCo will continue to employ the existing ALPART staff as well as recruit most of the former and available employees. As such, approximately 700 jobs are to be created as early as October/November this year,” he noted.

The Minister assured that the Government and JISCo will be “paying great attention” to protecting the environment during the project implementation.

Mr. Henry said that in addition to attending the signing ceremony for ALPART’s sale, the Jamaican delegation also met with other Chinese state-owned entities to discuss possible investment opportunities in Jamaica, “with a view to holding future talks to secure bilateral agreements for project developments”.