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Alpart's new owners to visit Jamaica, Holness wants NEPA to strictly monitor plans

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Government is 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.

During a press conference recently, Mining Minister Mike Henry indicated that the Chinese investors would 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 since objected to the construction of a coal plant, and the administration has indicated that there is no concrete proposal for a coal plant.

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

The statement indicated that the administration is committed to transparency and balancing economic growth aspirations, environmental imperatives, and international obligations.

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

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

The OPM said Holness has already held talks with representatives of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, the National Environment Planning Agency, and the Planning Institute of Jamaica.