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Chinese company takes control of Alpart

Jamaica Gleaner / Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart) in Nain, St Elizabeth, was officially handed over to the Chinese company Jiquan Iron and Steel (JISCO) last Thursday with production set to begin within the next six months.

The plant, which was previously owned and operated by the Russian company UC Rusal, is expected to generate between 800 and 1,000 jobs.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the site, Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry, said the new owners have already agreed to the ratio of employment between Jamaicans and expatriates, with local citizens to get most of the jobs.

The minister noted that some jobs will be new and some will be reinstated, as in the previous operations, and that the ratio of job allocations will be 70 per cent Jamaicans and 30 per cent expatriates.

He pointed out that the planned start-up of operations in six months has opened up a range of opportunities for citizens in southern Jamaica.

“I have seen how they (Alpart) treat their staff and how they develop the whole community. I have seen the importance of how they deal with water to develop the plains of St Elizabeth,” he added.

Henry said JISCO will also be ensuring that mined-out lands are returned to the residents of the parish, in order for them to utilise those properties for agricultural production and other purposes.

PROMISE TO ABIDE BY JAMAICAN LAWS Meanwhile, Chairman of JISCO Chen Chunming, who spoke through an interpreter, said his company will abide by Jamaican business laws and will be upholding the interests of the country.

Also speaking at the ceremony was China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Niu Qingbao, who said JISCO was eager to expand into manufacturing and the farming of mined-out lands.

He said the deal was a landmark in Jamaica-China relations, which would help to strengthen that relationship.

Production at the plant was halted in 2009 in the aftermath of the global recession and a drop in metal prices.

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