PM Welcomes Re-Opening of Ewarton Alumina Refinery


Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding has welcomed the announcement that Russian alumina company, UC Rusal, will be re-opening the Ewarton Alumina refinery by mid-year.
“We welcome that announcement and, especially, the jobs that will be restored to the bauxite workers. We provided special concessions under the existing fiscal regime to enable the plant to be reopened,” Mr. Golding said, during his contribution to the 2010/11 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, today (April 20).
He also stated that the future of Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart) and Kirkvine remains less certain, but noted that if the global market for alumina continues to improve, “we expect to see the re-opening of Alpart, but it is not possible to say how soon that will be.”
“Kirkvine faces two major challenges. It is the oldest of our plants and will require significant investment in new technology before it can achieve the desired levels of efficiency. Secondly, the type of bauxite reserves that remain, although in abundance, requires considerably more energy to process,” Mr. Golding said.
He also added that the future growth of the bauxite/alumina industry, and not just Kirkvine, depends heavily on our ability to provide a cheaper source of energy.
“In the highly competitive environment in which we operate, where cost efficiency determines whether we are in or out of the market, cheaper energy will improve considerably, our ability to attract investment, increase production and penetrate more deeply, both the domestic and export markets,” Mr. Golding said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister informed that the Government’s decision to diversify the country’s energy sources with the introduction of natural gas is consistent with the energy policy that was tabled by the Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson, last year.
He further noted that pursuant to that decision, tenders were invited for the financing and construction of a Floating Storage and Re-gasification Facility, to be located on the south coast. “Two tenders were received. We are awaiting the outcome of the evaluation process,” Mr. Golding said.

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