By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- The government of Jamaica has issued a formal notice to Russian aluminium company, UC Rusal, of its intention to revoke the special mining rights for its ALPART and Kirkvine refineries, if “bona fide” mining operations do not resume within six months.
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell, closed the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. JIS Photo
This was disclosed by minister of science, technology, energy and mining, Phillip Paulwell, as he closed the 2014/15 Sectoral debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
“The bauxite reserves associated with both plants represent over 200 million tonnes of ore idling in the ground while the plants flounder in uncertainty, and the livelihood of thousands continue to be in peril. This situation cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely,” Paulwell stated.
The Alpart and Kirkvine refineries have been non-operational since 2009.
The mining minister also noted that the government has extended to UC Rusal, for an additional two years, relief from the Bauxite Levy for WINDALCO’s Ewarton Plant, for the period October 1, 2013 to September 1, 2015.
“This is on the clear and unequivocal basis that a coal-fired generating plant will be constructed to supply cheaper energy to the refinery,” Paulwell stated.
Meanwhile, the minister said that Noble Resources Limited has acquired ALCOA’s holdings in JAMALCO.
He noted that “is a positive development for Jamaica, as Noble has given firm commitment to finally implement an energy solution that will enable JAMALCO to become a tier one company.”
He further commented that the government will endeavour to resolve outstanding land issues involving over 1,000 families in the various communities in the parish of Clarendon affected by the mining operations.
“We are therefore treating as a priority, the finalization of all land resettlement and titling issues. The approval of this transaction between ALCOA and Noble Resources Limited will be subject to the attainment of the resolution of these land issues,” Paulwell said.
The bauxite industry has been a mainstay of the Jamaican economy for decades. From 1974 to 2013, the sector produced over 400 million tonnes of bauxite, from which the country earned US$3.72 billion in levy and taxes, collected US$222 million in royalties, while an additional US$7.6 billion was brought into the country to cover local costs.
UC Rusal is the world's largest aluminium company and accounts for almost 9% of the world's primary aluminium output and 9% of the world’s alumina production. The company operates in 19 countries over five continents and employs over 72,000 people across its international operations and offices. The company is incorporated in Jersey, where it has its financial centre, but its headquarters are in Moscow.