Operations at the Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart alumina refinery in Nain, St Elizabeth, are set to be suspended for up to two years to facilitate the plant’s modernization and expansion.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (September 10), Transport and Mining Minster, Robert Montague, said the Ministry’s technical team recommended several options to JISCO relating to operations, during the modernization discussions.
He noted, however, that after careful consideration, the company decided that the best option at this time is to suspend alumina production and focus attention on a full-scale modernization and expansion
Mr. Montague explained that the decision was arrived at after the consideration of various factors.
These, he said, include worker safety and welfare, the high cost of production and high levels of waste, noting that “to continue producing alumina at over US$480 per tonne is unviable”.
Other factors include the prevailing low and falling price of alumina on the world market, difficulties sourcing parts for old equipment, and discontinuation of the manufacturing of many of the parts and systems used by Alpart.
Mr. Montague said JISCO has indicated that this phase of Alpart’s development is slated to commence within the next 50 days.
“I wish to remind this House and the people of Jamaica that the
The Minister added that the planned upgrade will result in a significantly more efficient refinery and that its production capacity will be increased from 1.65 million tonnes to two million tonnes per year.
LOWER PRODUCTION COST
“One of the principal objectives of the pending
The Minister said the pending modernization and expansion of Alpart will build on work that commenced upon being acquired by JISCO.
“That initial phase of the modernization
“Significant civil works, including the pouring of foundations for various buildings and systems, and direct improvements to the power plant have been completed,” he added.
Mr. Montague also told the Lower House that equipment and machinery needed for the expansion are either
By December 2017 the refinery had shipped its first cargo of alumina under JISCO’s ownership.
Initial rehabilitation and upgrades over the years by JISCO are valued at approximately US$300 million.