Sun | Aug 7, 2022

Alpart eyes limestone mining

Published:Monday | March 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Expressing confidence that the Aluminium Partners of Jamaica (Alpart) will return to its glory days, Lands Manager Dr Frank Ross has said the entity is looking at engaging in other areas of mining, such as limestone.

Speaking with The Gleaner following a tour of the plant last week, Ross said the mining industry still has great potential in contributing significantly to the country's economy.

Among those in the touring party were members of the Mining and Geology Division and the National Restoration Committee.

Squeezed by the global recession, Alpart was shut down in May 2009, leaving more than 1,000 persons unemployed. At the time, the company said its alumina product experienced a drastic 60 per cent price reversal since July 2008, and the shutdown would allow the plant to prepare for future developments that may see the industry emerge from the present situation.

Although the company has described the shutdown as temporary, production at the plant has not been restarted, as the company's owner, US Rusal, has indicated that its reopening is contingent on getting a sustainable supply of cheaper energy.

Following last week's tour, Ross told The Gleaner that the company is looking at other types of mining activities such as limestone.

"There are significant sources of limestone within our bauxite-mining lease, so there is a huge potential for better usage, along with mining and exporting of the product," he said.

"We want to spread our wings, so wherever we can work together with other private-sector interests or the Government, we are very happy to do so, but all is not lost, and I'm very confident that there will be a turnaround," Ross told The Gleaner.