NEARLY 600 Jamaicans will be forced to join the unemployment line later this year as Russian aluminium giant UC Rusal moves to shut down its Ewarton plant in St Catherine.
Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell, in a statement to the House of Representatives yesterday, said he was "verbally advised" on July 6 this year that the company had made the decision to close its Ewarton plant for a year.
According to Paulwell, the planned closure of UC Rusal's Ewarton plant comes despite efforts by the Government to grant a full waiver of production levy for the plant for one year, which would have taken effect on June 1, 2012.
He said the main conditions of the waiver included a commitment from the company to implement certain short-term projects, aimed at improving the capacity, efficiency and the environmental management of the Ewarton plant.
Paulwell noted that UC Rusal did not utilise the waiver which was granted.
"Despite the efforts of the Government to mitigate the adverse situation, the indications are that the continued operation of the Ewarton plant is in doubt," he said.