Thursday 20 September, 2018

Henry points to significant growth in the mining industry

Jamaica’s mining sector is experiencing a major boost, recording 15 per cent growth in the October to December 2017 quarter.

That growth was driven by what Mining Minister Mike Henry calls “significant developments” in the bauxite industry.

Henry told delegates attending the 24th Bauxite and Mining Conference at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in St. James on Wednesday that the sale of the Alpart refinery in St. Elizabeth to Chinese entity, Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company Limited (JISCO), and the facility’s subsequent re-opening have contributed to an upturn in the bauxite industry.

Henry said this will continue with the upgrades that are scheduled to take place at the plant.

The minister highlighted a framework agreement that has been signed between the Government and JISCO to undertake major improvement works at the refinery and Port Kaiser.

“The agreement includes the expansion of the existing refinery capacity from 1.65 to two million tonnes per annum, the construction of a new alumina refinery, the construction of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant and special economic zone and the expansion of Port Kaiser to accommodate mega ships and an LNG facility” Henry said.

The Minister added that the sale of Noranda Bauxite Mines to New Day Aluminium Jamaica Limited has also resulted in steady improvement of production and exports.

The sale of Noranda’s stake in St Ann Bauxite Limited took place in October 2016.

Mr. Henry also pointed out that construction of Jamaica’s first LNG facility at the Jamalco bauxite plant in Clarendon has commenced.

“This is significant because of its intention to bring about production efficiencies and lessen the impact on the environment. We expect a multiplier effect on the communities surrounding the plant and the wider economy to be positively impacted,” he said.