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More Than 1,000 Additional Jobs In Bauxite/Alumina Sector

More Than 1,000 Additional Jobs In Bauxite/Alumina Sector
Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Michael Henry. (FILE)

KINGSTON (JIS) -- Just over 1,000 additional jobs are expected to be created for Jamaicans this year, as a result of developments in the bauxite/alumina sector. This was disclosed by Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, during his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on April 12. The Minister noted that at the Alpart refinery in St. Elizabeth, Jamaicans will have the opportunity to gain employment when the 250 temporary Chinese return to their country in June. These persons, he said, will receive training in the various areas of expertise.

In addition, he said that 50 batches of young persons will be trained by Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company Limited (JISCO), the China-based entity which has taken over the operations of the plant.

Operations at Alpart, which is the largest alumina refinery in Jamaica, are slated to restart in the second half of 2017.

Work is in progress to rehabilitate and refurbish the plant before resuming alumina production this year.

He noted that 500 Jamaicans are now permanently employed at the refinery, increasing from 80 persons.

The Minister pointed out that plans for the sector also include the upgrading of Alpart’s Port Kaiser facility, which is also expected to provide more jobs.

“They are going to build the second factory, to move to a 2,000-tonne (capacity) alumina refinery, all with attendant employment for another 500 permanent jobs,” he said.

He added that expansion works at the Jamalco refinery in Clarendon will also result in further employment of 200 to 300 more persons.

Among the other developments at Jamalco, the Minister further informed, is the construction of a 120-megawatt plant by American company, New Fortress Energy.

He said the facility, which will be fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) “will dramatically increase profitability of the operations”.