Jamalco operations face slow recovery after two hurt in blaze
Work at the Jamalco alumina plant in Hayes, Clarendon, could be severely hampered over the next few days and managers may seek assistance from the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to power operations on the heels of a “massive loss” to the company’s capacity Sunday afternoon.
Speaking with The Gleaner even as cooling-down operations were still ongoing at the site, a manager at the plant, who wished not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said a ruptured bunker C oil line appeared to have been the cause of the blaze, which has so far left two employees injured.
“To my estimation, I could be wrong, but the plant is going to be down for a little while. The fire was in the power house, which provides power to everywhere [on the plant]. My best guess, right now, is that it is not going to be back in terms of the power house supplying the plant any time soon,” the source said.
“Pretty much what happened is that an oil line got ruptured and then got ignited somehow. It started out as a little fire [but] to my estimation, it was not initially death with by experienced persons so by the time the fire truck came, it actually spread,” the source said.
The operations of the refinery will, therefore, likely be impacted over the next few days as managers seek a workaround to the scorched electricity transmission equipment.
“We can get electricity from JPS, but all transmitting points are in the power house and we don’t know, right now, how much of that was damaged in the fire. So even if we get power from the power house, we can’t run at full capacity. It might be 50-60 per cent,” the manager said.
Jamalco is a joint-venture between Noble Group and Clarendon Alumina Production with a focus on bauxite mining and alumina production.