Jamaica says it is confident that the Russian-owned Alpart bauxite and alumina plant at Nain will re-open soon.
Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell said discussions with UC Rusal, the majority share holders and operators of the plant are going well.
He said another round of talks is scheduled for the near future.
"We have to get Alpart re-opened, we have to get our bauxite/alumina back to where it was, and we have to get employment going. I have said to the representatives of UC Rusal, what you have there is precious to us, you have good reserves, and we cannot afford to keep the place locked down," he said.
The parish of St. Elizabeth has been affected economically since the closure of the processing plant in 2009 and Paulwell emphasised that before the end of this year, a date and schedule for the re-opening of the plant must be established.
I have said to them (UC Rusal) that before this year is out, we are going to have to come and tell the people of St. Elizabeth the date and schedule for the re-opening. The good news is that they continue to maintain the plant, even though it is closed, he said.
Paulwell said that energy generation is playing an important role in the re-opening of the plant, and that as soon as a solution is found to the energy issue, and that is expected by the end of December, then there will be a move to have the plant re-opened for business, which should lead to the generation of employment in the area.