JIS News

Minister of Development, Dr. Paul Robertson has urged stakeholders in the bauxite industry to “let good sense prevail”, so that the gains made in the industry could be preserved.
Speaking on the weekend at the Jamaica Bauxite Institute’s 30th anniversary awards luncheon at the Knutsford Court Hotel, the Minister with responsibility for bauxite, said he hoped the stakeholders would find it “prudent and urgent” to work together to ensure the stability of the industry.
The Minister was speaking against the background of recent industrial relations tensions in the sector.Referring to Alcoa’s US$1.2 billion expansion programme planned for its Jamalco plant in Halse Hall, Clarendon, the Minister said the bauxite industry was a major earner of foreign exchange, “therefore it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to operate in a manner which preserves the gains of recent years”. He pledged the Government’s commitment to continue working with the industry to ensure its viability.
Acknowledging that there was “some amount of tension in the industry”, Dr. Robertson said it was important that the stakeholders continue to work for the prosperity of the communities in which the companies operated. He said the Government was committed to ensuring that these communities benefited as much as possible from mining activities.
Citing the Bauxite Community Development Programme initiated by the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), Dr. Robertson announced that Cabinet had just approved further improvements to the programme, “which will soon become apparent”. He also revealed that Cabinet would shortly examine a submission to refine the policy regarding the use of bauxite lands.
He said the prospects for the industry were looking bright, and he commended the JBI for the significant role it had played in the development of the industry over the last 30 years. “Undoubtedly, the JBI’s role in the industry has been dynamic and has kept pace and, I am certain in many instances, has been ahead of the developments in the industry here as well as globally,” the Minister told the function, where members of staff were given long-service as well as performance awards.

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