JAM | May 10, 2023

Getting JISCO’s US$1.1 billion plant investment back on track

/ Our Today

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FILE: Minister of Transport and Mining Audley Shaw. (Photo: JIS)

Durrant Pate/ Contributor

The Government of Jamaica is seeking to get back on track the US$1.1 billion investment planned for the Nain bauxite plant in St. Elizabeth, operated by Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company Limited (JISCO).

The 1.65 million tonnes per annum alumina refinery, Jamaica’s largest and only high temperature facility, has been closed for modernisation and expansion since October 2019. At the time of closure, JISCO indicated that the proposed modernisation and capacity expansion to two million tonnes per annum would have been completed within 18-months with a total investment upon completion of US$1.1 billion.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues have disrupted JISCO’s plans with no announcement made if and when the modernisation will take place and the plant reopened. However, Transport and Mining Minister, Audley Shaw, yesterday extended an invitation to JISCO to discuss its modernisation plans and the reopening of the refinery.

Making his contribution to the 2023/2024 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, Shaw declared, “I want to extend an invitation to JISCO to meet with me to allow us to forge the way forward with this proposed investment. I wish all to know that the bauxite and alumina industry remains open for business.”

He acknowledged that while COVID-19 is still present, the world has declared the pandemic over and is back to business, expressing his desire to see the expansion executed and the plant reopened. Shaw reiterated that the proposal for the transformation of the alumina refinery by JISCO made in 2016 was part of a broader investment, including a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which would have been significantly larger than the US$1.1 billion mentioned.

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