JIS News

Cabinet has approved the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at providing a suitable energy solution for the Jamalco plant in Clarendon.

The MoU is to be executed by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, and involve the Government, Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica, and Clarendon Alumina Partners.

Making the disclosure on November 21 Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, informed that the MoU was signed earlier this week.

She pointed out that Jamalco has made significant contribution to Jamaica’s national development, advancing major industrial, economic and social benefits, especially to the parish of Clarendon.

“Since 2004, however, Jamalco’s viability has been negatively impacted by hurricanes, increased cost of fuel, the global economic crisis and depressed prices for alumina in the global market…these challenges had forced Alcoa to reconsider its future operations with Jamaica,” she explained.

Earlier this year, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, met with Alcoa executives in New York, and assured the company that the Government would help to facilitate identifying suitable energy options.

Following this meeting, Alcoa agreed to remain in Jamaica. The MoU proposes that all options are explored to come up with an energy solution. “By December 31, the parties will terminate the MoU if they are unable to finalise a binding agreement to implement the energy solution,” Senator Falconer said.                                               

Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), the world’s largest aluminum producer, began operations in Jamaica in 1959, and in 1988, the Government of Jamaica acquired a 50 per cent share in its operations.

The resulting company is Jamalco, with Alcoa as the managing partner.       Following an expansion in 2007, 55 per cent of Jamalco went to Alcoa, and 45 per cent to the Government of Jamaica.