Minister of Mining, Robert Montague, says the second phase of the modernization and expansion programme at the Jisco/Alpart plant in St. Elizabeth will commence in 50 days.
Speaking in parliament this afternoon (September 10), Minister Montague gave an update on the modernization of the Alpart plant in Nain, St. Elizabeth.
He noted that significant upgrades and maintenance are needed to improve the efficiency of the refinery.
Mr. Montague said the programme will be carried out at a cost of $1.1 billion, with initial rehabilitation and upgrades over the years by Jisco valued at approximately $300 million US.
Mr. Montague noted that one of the main initiatives of the upgrade is to increase the production capacity of the plant from 1.6 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes, while reducing production costs.
Meantime, Mr. Montague announced that the Jisco/Alpart bauxite plant will be closed for 18 to 24 months, within the next 30 days to facilitate the upgrades at the plant.
The Minister was responding to questions from Opposition Spokesman on Mining, Philip Paulwell.
And the Mining Minister said a labour agreement has been worked out between Jisco/Alpart and the unions representing displaced workers at the company.
Mr. Montague noted that discussions continue between the bauxite company and the unions to come up with the best solutions for workers.
He was unable to confirm how many workers would be laid off, as he said discussions with the unions are on-going, and some workers will be employed for maintenance and also during the upgrading process.