The Ministry of Mining is seeking to make it clear that it is keeping communication going with bauxite industry partners in Jamaica, in the face of concern over the country’s main mineral industry.
The Ministry’s statement Friday, August 16 came following another Thursday saying talks were taking place with JISCO/ALPART the largest alumina refinery in Jamaica. Those talks are in the context of concerns being widely expressed that the Chinese owners of the plant at Nain, St Elizabeth could be reconsidering proposed expansion and modernization of the plant and its energy supply. Those works could result in US$3 Billion in investment.
A softening of demand for aluminum, the metal made from alumina, has pushed prices down worldwide, raising questions about the immediate and medium term future of the industry.
In its statement Friday, the Mining Ministry said “Transport and Mining Minister, Robert Montague, along with representatives from his Ministry, continue to have dialogue with key players in the bauxite industry amidst global concerns with respect to the price of bauxite/alumina on the international market.”
The Minister and his team met with representatives from WINDALCO, on Thursday, August 15, at the WINDALCO plant in Ewarton, St. Catherine. This, as the Ministry monitors the bauxite and mining industry in an effort to allay fears of any possible fallout and provide the requisite support aimed at protecting the welfare of workers and the livelihood of communities who depend on the industry.
“Although the discussions with partners remain at a delicate stage, the Mining Minister has indicated that Jamaica’s interest is his first priority and will do whatever it takes to ensure that the country is protected,” it said.
According to the statement Minister Montague has also met with representatives of the Clarendon alumina Company (CAP) and Noranda Bauxite Company to address the global concerns surrounding the bauxite/alumina industry.