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Government rebuffs Noranda pressure

Published:Friday | January 22, 2016 | 9:23 AM
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips says the Government believes it can collect the revenues without impairing the ability of the company to survive.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has rebuffed threats made by Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation that it would send home a huge chunk of its workforce if the Government pushes ahead with plans to collect outstanding levy.

Phillips says the Government believes it can collect the revenues without impairing the ability of the company to survive.

He argues that Jamaica cannot give away its depleting, non-renewable resources without getting what is provided for, in law, for its people.

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation has announced it will be moving ahead with job cuts, as it grapples with several challenges, including the insistence of the Jamaican Government to collect the full bauxite levy.

A press release issued by the company’s head office in Tennessee, United States, says 190 jobs will be cut.

However, a senior official close to Jamaica’s bauxite industry says it is poor management that has led to Noranda being in the current position.

The official argues that Noranda’s financial position would not change even if the Jamaican Government were to decide not to collect any of the levy.

The bauxite levy amounts to approximately US$7 per tonne, which is reflective of a base rate of US$5.50 per tonne, plus increments determined by a specified formula.