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Energy Minister surprised by UC Rusal's overseas expansion

Published:Thursday | April 10, 2014 | 1:22 PM

Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell has expressed concern about Russian aluminum company UC Rusal's move to expand its businesses elsewhere while its interest in Jamaica continues to lag behind.




Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell yesterday told a parliamentary committee that he was taken aback by news that UC Rusal is set to embark on mining activities and plans to develop a refinery in Indonesia.



He was speaking during yesterday’s sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament.



During the sitting of parliament on March 25 opposition spokesman on finance Audley Shaw raised concern that there are no clear signs as to when the Alpart and Kirkvine plants, which are owned by UC Rusal, will reopen.



The plants have been closed since 2009.



Shaw said the bauxite industry is an integral part of the country’s growth trajectory and there needs to be a clear picture of the future of UC Rusal in Jamaica.



At the time, finance minister Dr Peter Phillips had sought to assure that the company’s plan to reopen the plants in 2016 is still on target.



In the past, the energy minister has said that the government would consider revoking UC Rusal’s mining licence if it could not definitively say when the plants will go back into operation.



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