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New ALPART owners to visit next month, gov't prepares for talks

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 8:11 PM
ALPART bauxite plant in Nain, St Elizabeth.

The Government says it's preparing to receive and consider definitive plans for the development of the ALPART bauxite plant in Nain, St Elizabeth by the new Chinese owner Jinquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCo).

JISco bought ALPART from Russian company UC Rusal last month for US$300 million, with plans to invest US$2 billion in total over five years.

At a press conference recently Mining Minister, Mike Henry, indicated that the Chinese investors will establish an industrial zone, which will comprise an alumina refinery, a coal-fired power plant, a local electricity network, among other enterprises.

Environmental groups have objected to the construction of a coal plant.

A statement this afternoon from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) stated that the Government is closely following the public discourse on the sale and the concerns raised.

It says the administration is committed to transparency and balancing economic growth aspirations, environmental imperatives and international obligations.

The OPM says the principals of JISCo are expected to visit Jamaica next month to hold discussions on its plans for ALPART.

In addition, the OPM says Prime Minister Andrew Holness has started holding consultations with key state agencies ahead of the visit.

It points out that Holness has already held talks with representatives of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, the National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

The OPM says given the magnitude and nature of the proposed development, the prime minister has directed NEPA to ensure it has the requisite expertise to effectively assess, monitor and advise the Government.