Prime Minister Bruce Golding gave an assurance today(Feb 12) that although the Bauxite Industry was under severe stress, its future was not in danger and it must prepare and position itself to rebound with renewed energy.
Mr. Golding said that despite the dark clouds of the bauxite industry that now engulfed the country, there was a silver lining.
“The industry may be and is indeed, under stress, but its future is not in danger. What we must do is to prepare and position it to rebound with renewed energy, unprecedented efficiency and greater resilience,” Prime Minister Golding said.
He was addressing the official opening ceremony of the 15th International Bauxite and Alumina Seminar at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, Montego Bay, on Thursday(Feb 12).
The Prime Minister said that the transformation of the industry would demand new investments in research, technology and innovation. He said the time that this would take, would overlap with the time for the global economy to return to a path of growth.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding (left), listens attentively to comments from Chairman of the Bauxite Institute, Dr. Carlton Davis, at the official opening of the 15th International Bauxite and Alumina Seminar, at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, in Montego Bay, St. James, today (February 12). The three-day seminar ends on February 13.
“Of one thing we can be assured: the aluminium industry is not going to die. Like most other things, the current global crisis had a beginning and it will certainly have an end,” Mr. Golding assured.
“Aluminium will remain one of the foremost metals in demand, second only to steel. Its importance to transportation, packaging, construction and the manufacture of consumer durables as a light weight, lasting, environmentally friendly and recyclable material will not diminish. It can only grow and it will grow when other things start to grow again. The long-term future for the industry is, therefore, as bright as the shiny metal itself,” he added.
He warned that the country would make a mistake if it insisted that global recovery must precede the transformation of the industry. However he said that the country stood to reap real benefits if it demonstrates the perceptiveness and pro-activeness to invest the effort and resources now available to ensure the fortunes of tomorrow.
“On every occasion in the past when the aluminum industry experienced a major upheaval, it has not only recovered, but it has had to be transformed into a leaner, stronger and more efficient business. The demand this time would be no different. Indeed, the demand this time was more compelling”, Mr. Golding said.
The three-day seminar was conducted by Metal Bulletin and sponsored by UC Rusal and Alcoa in association with Jamaica Bauxite Institute(JBI) and Bauxite and Alumina Trading Company(BATCo) and is being held at a time when the bauxite and alumina industry is facing its most severe crisis, as a result of the global economic crisis.