Govt. in Discussion with Bauxite Companies to Avoid Closure


Prime Minister Bruce Golding, has said that the administration is engaging local bauxite and alumina companies, and the unions representing the sector’s workers, to avoid closure of the plants, which would result in the loss of hundreds of jobs.
In a national broadcast on December 14, the Prime Minister noted that the global bauxite/alumina industry is in a “precarious” position, as the market for alumina has virtually “collapsed,” in the face of the global financial downturn.
“The demand for alumina is driven largely by the housing and automobile industries, both of which have come to a standstill. The price of alumina has fallen to less than half of what it was in July. Inventories are piling up all over the world, and ships laden with alumina are having difficulty finding places to offload their cargo, because storage sites are full to the brim. Plants are being shut down in different parts of the world,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
In light of this, Mr. Golding said the discussions are being held to see how best to avoid any dislocation in the local sector’s operations.
“The Government has had to offer concessions, and we may not be able to avoid a cutback in production. But we are doing everything possible to keep plants in operation and save the jobs of workers in the industry,” he said.
Mr. Golding informed that the discussions have been going well, and expressed the hope that an agreement would be reached with Russian alumina company, AC Rusal, in respect of Alumina Partners (ALPART), in St. Elizabeth, and West Indies Alumina Company’s (WINDALCO) operations at Kirkvine, Manchester, and Ewarton, St. Catherine.
“The situation will have to be kept under constant review, based on developments in the world market. At present, there is no immediate danger to the operations of Jamalco and St. Ann Bauxite Company, but we are in constant dialogue with those companies as well,” the Prime Minister said.

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