Mining operations at the Alpart bauxite/alumina plant in Nain, St. Elizabeth, is set to resume next month, while the refinery will officially re-open in December, 2016.
Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who made the announcement today (December 22), at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the agreement was reached with Russian aluminium company, UC Rusal, on Monday.
Mr. Paulwell informed that the deal will facilitate the mining and export of up to two million tonnes of raw bauxite over the next 18 months, with an estimated value of US$60 million.
Mr. Paulwell said the re-commissioning of Alpart, including the refinery, port, mines and other facilitates, is expected to generate some 1,200 jobs in various capacities over the next 15 to 18 months.
He said while bauxite mining will resume in January 2015, the export of ore will not commence before July of next year.
“The new deal represents an expression of the Government’s commitment to ensure that the full potential of the bauxite/alumina industry is realised in the shortest possible time,” the Minister said.
He noted that the agreement also represents an expression of confidence on the part of UC Rusal in the future of the local bauxite and alumina sector.
Mr. Paulwell had given UC Rusal until December 31 to resume operations, or risk losing its mining rights.
Meanwhile, the Minister revealed that the newly inked deal with UC Rusal will result in a number of benefits for Jamaica.
This includes a US$400 million investment in plant modernization; transportation infrastructure works; the development of port facilities and the establishment of an ethane co-generation facility by 2016.
The Minister said port development works will commence in February 2015, while the repair of affected roadways and related activities for refinery readiness will take place before the first quarter of 2016.
The port, storage and transport infrastructure works are expected to cost a total of US$110 million.
Mr. Paulwell said the Government will also be looking towards the establishment of appropriate and agreed energy solutions for the refinery, once it is reopened.
He said in order to raise the economic efficiency of alumina production at Alpart, UC Rusal will modernize the facility, in particular through the conversion from heavy fuel oil to gas, in order to generate steam and electricity.
“It is planned that the enthane-fuelled co-generation facility will be commissioned before the end of 2017 and the Jamaican authorities will facilitate access to the Jamaican energy grid,” the Minister explained.
Rusal Alpart Jamaica will represent a large production complex in Jamaica, with its own bauxite mines to feed alumina production.
Annual production capacity of the complex is expected to be some 1.65 million tonnes of smelter-grade alumina, valued at US$500 million, the Minister said.
Jamaica Information Service