KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday January 4, 2018 – The first cargo of alumina produced by the Alpart refinery under its new Chinese owners has been shipped from the island.
The shipment, which totalled 35,000 tonnes, is destined for China. It is the first following the resumption of operations in June after acquisition of the plant by China’s State-owned Jiuquan Iron & Steel Group (JISCO), and comes after a nine-year hiatus.
JISCO paid US$299 million to acquire Alpart and spent more than US$60 million to facilitate its reopening.
Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry, who was on hand for the departure of the cargo last Friday, said that JISCO, in partnership with the workers of St Elizabeth and Manchester, has enabled the bauxite industry in that part of the country to be “like a Phoenix rising from the ashes”.
“The bauxite industry is experiencing a rebirth, the likes of which we have never seen before in Jamaica,” he added.
The Minister said the restart of operations at Alpart is a partnership between the Government, the people of Jamaica and JISCO, which sees the Government providing the legislative and policy platform and the Jamaican employees providing the requisite services and expertise to make the investment worthwhile.
He said an investment of this magnitude should be fostered by “an enviable level of understanding” and recommended that “industrial differences and concerns be dealt with openly and frankly at the table of discussions”.
“I want an industrial relations climate that will be supportive and not disruptive, while standing up for that which is right. I expect that for harmony, all ideas must contend. But, I equally expect that the partnership I am proposing must embrace the tenets of fair play and justice for all the parties involved,” Henry added.
He commended the Chinese investors, whom he said “have caught on to the vision of the Government” and have decided to use LNG in all their development plans to expand their operations at Alpart.