JIS News

The Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) is rigorously monitoring the island’s bauxite plants, to ensure that these operations are maintained and poised for maximum marketability.
Executive Director, Parris Lyew-Ayee, gave this assurance at a press conference called by Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson, at his New Kingston offices, recently.
“We are busy working with the Commissioner of Mines and other agencies, in monitoring the plants as they stand now, and we also continue having monitoring teams going out, to ensure that maintenance is on-going. Each plant has a set of contracts that they have taken on, to make sure that when we are ready to get the plants back up, that we will be able to do it well. We’ve had experience in the past when Alpart was closed, and we were ready to get that plant back up within three to four months,” Mr. Ayee pointed out.
The Kirkvine and Ewarton (Windalco) and Alpart bauxite plants are now closed.
The Executive Director pointed to high energy cost as one of the main areas of concern as it relates to technical capability and marketability of the plants.
“That is an area that we want to work on, for higher production. All the plants are pretty old. The youngest one was set up in 1972…we have to do upgrading work with the companies,” he said.
For this purpose, the JBI has established working groups with Alpart, Windalco and Jamalco to look at the areas in which it can assist with research and development. “One of the main ones has to do with the bauxite itself. Research and development never ends. Things keep changing all the time. What today seems impossible to process or to use, tomorrow with research and development, it’s a cinch to work out,” he said.
To this end, the Institute is collaborating with the bauxite companies, and overseas consultants to decide on the best approach to dealing with difficult bauxite, as part of the way forward.
Mr. Lyew-Ayee also noted that the JBI remains committed in its close relationship with bauxite mining communities, to ensure that in this difficult period, they receive as much assistance as is possible. “We must say thanks to Alpart and Windalco in particular. Although they are closed, they have still maintained, to a lesser degree, the community outreach programmes,” he said.

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