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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Chinese company Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) has committed to putting measures in place to ensure the sustainability of operations at Alpart, which it purchased earlier this year.
  • Chairman of JISCO, China’s fifth largest aluminium provider, Chen Chunming, said the company will make every effort to modernise the St. Elizabeth-based plant in order to have it operational long-term.
  • The Chinese delegation met with members of the Cabinet ahead of the signing ceremony, with discussions being led by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, who is heading the Government in the absence of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness

Chinese company Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) has committed to putting measures in place to ensure the sustainability of operations at Alpart, which it purchased earlier this year.

Chairman of JISCO, China’s fifth largest aluminium provider, Chen Chunming, said the company will make every effort to modernise the St. Elizabeth-based plant in order to have it operational long-term.

He was addressing a signing ceremony for a framework cooperation agreement between his company, the Government of Jamaica, and the China Development Bank at the Office of the Prime Minister on September 22.

On July 19, Russian mining conglomerate UC Rusal, finalised a US$300-million sale of the alumina refinery to JISCO. This led to an agreement for the rehabilitation and expansion of the plant, which had been significantly scaled down since 2009.

Dispelling concerns about the project’s sustainability, Mr. Chunming assured that his company will be utilising advanced power-generation technology and alumina processing techniques developed in China. He also promised to use environmentally-friendly methods in the plant’s operations.

Mr. Chunming said work to upgrade the plant and establish a special economic zone in the area will require the joint effort of JISCO and Alpart staff as well as continued strong support from the Jamaican Government.

Noting that the economic zone will also result in local business opportunities, he added that it will create hundreds of jobs and contribute to the economic development of the surrounding communities and, by extension, the country.

Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, said the visit by JISCO’s representatives, as well as the delegation from the China Development Bank (CDB), is testimony of the importance of the project to upgrade Alpart and contribute to the surrounding communities’ development.

He said it is also an indication of the continued support of infrastructural development projects being undertaken by Jamaica through assistance from the Chinese government. In this regard, he gave an undertaking to ensure obstacles to the ease of doing business in the country are removed.

Mr. Henry said three more framework agreements are to be signed as the implementation of the transfer of Alpart’s ownership continues. These are the establishment agreement, fiscal agreement and agency agreement.

“Our partners are credible and we are serious about the growth of the Jamaican economy,” Mr. Henry said.

The CDB provided the funding for the acquisition as well as an additional US$200 million for the plant’s upgrading. The project is expected to generate up to US$3 billion of investments over the next five years.

Chairman of the CDB, Dr. Hu Huaibang, in hailing the progress of the acquisition, said Jamaica is one of the institution’s priority partners in the Caribbean region, having had a good record of cooperation in recent years.

“The CDB is optimistic about the economic prospects of Jamaica. I hope that the Alpart project will be a new starting point as we seek to expand cooperation and pursue mutually beneficial development in the future,” he said.

Chinese ambassador, His Excellency Niu Qingbao, said the Embassy will work to ensure that the project goes smoothly by working closely with all stakeholders.

“Economic cooperation is a critical part of the overall China-Jamaica relationship. I want to assure you that the Chinese government is fully behind this project and the overall cooperation between our two countries,” he said.

The Chinese delegation met with members of the Cabinet ahead of the signing ceremony, with discussions being led by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, who is heading the Government in the absence of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness