Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the Government is exploring the possibility of producing aluminium locally.
Speaking at Wednesday's (July 25) Jamaica House media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Paulwell said details of the undertaking are expected to be announced by the end of September.
Those details, he pointed out, are also expected to include energy solutions for the bauxite/alumina sector that will enable the country to ship less bauxite and alumina and more of the valued-added derivative, aluminium.
"We are now very pleased that there are companies that are prepared to discuss with Jamaica, the matter of equity in aluminium production… and we are going to follow that through. We are looking at the full range of mining opportunities, but (particularly) within the bauxite alumina industry, to see how we can move to that ultimate level (of producing aluminium). We have been talking, for years, about the prospect of Jamaica combining with energy rich countries to get to producing aluminium. That, I believe is a dream that is within our grasp, especially as we move to solving the energy problem,” he said.
Mr. Paulwell described the proposed undertaking as a “new approach”, but is consistent with the focus on “increasing the value (of) the goods and services that we produce”.
"We (have long) exported bauxite or alumina. (But) we have never, really, pursued having a vested interest in the next stage of the production, which is to take it from alumina to aluminium. Also, we believe that because we are moving to solve the energy problem, we can entice businesses in this area, to look, now, at Jamaica as a place where you can do the full range of processing. We are onto a project that I believe will secure for us, significant lower prices for energy,” the Minister stated.