Gov’t seeks buy-in from bauxite sector on LNG use


Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. James Robertson, met with stakeholders in the bauxite/alumina industry earlier this week as the government looks at measures to reposition the sector to make it more energy efficient through the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel.
Minister Robertson, who spoke to JIS News at his New Kingston office, said that the kind of buy-in that these talks generate will be critical in determining how the sector moves forward.
“I had four individuals looking at where and how we are going to re-position our bauxite/alumina industry and how the buy-in into the new (gas) programme is going to take place,” he said.
“We are looking at programmes that from 10 years ago, huge international companies indicated that natural gas could possibly be an easy fix. At that time, they even looked at maps for pipelines that would take natural gas from our south coast all the way to the interior, into Kirkvine (Manchester) and Ewarton (St. Catherine) for example,” he informed.
He said that the government was working to re-start the Kirkvine plant with new energy sources.
Jamaica is looking to incorporate the use of renewable energy to reduce the oil import bill, promote greater energy efficiency across the various sectors and boost economic growth.
The National Energy Policy, now before Parliament, calls for a minimum of 20 per cent of the island’s energy to come from renewables, “which means that Jamaica will be at 1,400 megawatts (Mw) of installed capacity and at least 300 Mws of that will be coming from renewables”, Minister Robertson informed.
Focus is being placed on LNG, which is a cleaner-burning and more cost effective alternative to fossil fuel.
The LNG project will be implemented as a private sector financed, build- own-operate (BOO) project, which is expected to save the country at least US$300 million per year in energy importation costs.
“We are not tied in at this time to a supplier for LNG. There is going to be a procurement process, we are going to be dealing with that; we are way down the wicket on that,” Minister Robertson told JIS News.

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