September  11, 2019

In 50 days the Jiuquan Iron and Steel (Group) Company Limited (JISCO) will begin Phase II of its plans to modernize and expand the ALPART alumina refinery in Nain, St. Elizabeth. Operations at the refinery are set to be suspended for approximately two years to facilitate this. 

Speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 10, Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague said the Ministry’s technical team recommended several options to JISCO relating to operations, during the modernisation discussions.

Calling the modernization and expansion programme "one of the largest investments" in the history of Jamaica, the Minister revealed that total investment is projected at US1.1 billion dollars.  

He said the planned upgrade will increase the refinery’s production capacity from 1.65 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes per year. 

“One of the principal objectives of the pending modernisation programme is to markedly lower the refinery’s production cost. This will increase its competitiveness, save jobs, reduce waste and generate income for the Government of Jamaica,” Mr. Montague said.

The Minister also labeled the mining sector an "important pillar in Jamaica’s economic growth," citing statistics that has the sector accounting for 50% of total traditional exports, contributing 40% to Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the 2018/19 fiscal year.