Jamaica’ s largest alumina refinery, Alpart, is set to resume production eight years after its closure and sale to Chinese company, JISCO.
Alpart’ s Assistant Managing Director, Patrick James, said production will resume on June 20. He also disclosed that the mining of bauxite on the Manchester Plateau in central Jamaica will begin next Monday and movement of the ore to the plant will commence on June 8.
Last July, UC RUSAL, a leading global aluminum producer, announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell a 100 per cent stake of the Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart) to the Chinese state industrial group, Jiuquan Iron & Steel (GROUP) Co. Ltd. (JISCO).The deal was worth an estimated US$299 and undertaken within the program for RUSAL’ s assets optimization and debt ratio reduction.
James said that since the sale of Alpart, several hundred people have been employed.
He added that while employment has risen in the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Manchester, there is a shortage of high-end engineering skills since many former Alpart employees migrated after the refinery closed in 2009.
Alpart closed during the global financial collapse and a slump in metal prices, even as oil prices stayed high at that time.
The company has a large production complex in central Jamaica, which uses its own bauxite mines to feed alumina production.
Before its shut-down from 2009 to 2015, Alpart’ s annual production was 1.65 million tonnes of cell-grade alumina and 4.9 million tones of bauxite.