We have had significant investments that have taken place in the last two years. The first is an investment by the American group New Day in Noranda. New Day brought Noranda out of bankruptcy, maintained the operations, and is presently moving those operations back to peak levels. The second investment was by the Chinese firm Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) in Alpart in St. Elizabeth. Alpart had previously been closed for almost nine years. It is currently producing alumina, and the first shipment was sent in December 2017. Restarting the plant required an investment of in excess of USD300 million. Additionally, JISCO has substantial plans for major investments. It expects to spend USD3 billion in the next three years.
Parris A. Lyew-Ayee
Executive Director, Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI)
Chairman, Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI)
JBI is a Limited Liability Company owned by the government. We are not a straight civil service agency. In the past, all of the bauxite and alumina companies here were traditional operators with technical R&D facilities that provided support for their subsidiaries. Currently, the companies that operate here do not have this same support. JBI sees these types of services as its responsibility. We see ourselves as an organization that supports the entire community. We have developed and earned a great deal of respect from the industry, and we will only strengthen this position as we bring the industry back to Jamaica in a powerful way. The government is also helping to incentivize bauxite and alumina development within the private sector. There is the Bauxite and Alumina Mining Act, and there are new legislative structures looking at special economic zones that will take over where bauxite and alumina mining programs stop.
Managing Director, PowerGen
Energy makes up approximately 30% of the cost of alumina production. When you have a generating plant that is small and old, you are faced with many challenges and the need to modernize equipment. Jamalco's power plant is fitted with steam boilers and turbines, using heavy fuel oil to produce the power and steam for operating the alumina refinery. Over USD100 million per year is spent by the refinery for purchasing of heavy fuel oil for operating the facility. Therefore, when 30% of the cost of production is energy and the oil price goes crazy, you can see the effect it has on production. Jamalco has entered into an agreement with New Fortress Energy (NFE) to build a natural-gas-fired combined heat and power plant. NFE is building a marine gas terminal and offshore storage facility. A pipeline will transport natural gas into the plant at Jamalco, which then generates energy at a competitive price, supplying power to the JPS grid and steam to Jamalco.
Managing Director, Lydford Mining
Lydford Mining has the ability to produce 2 million tons of construction-grade limestone per annum and around 250,000 tons of chemical and industrial grades of limestone. Then, we make milled products, which go into plastics, paints, and various other industries. Some 80% of our production is used in the US while the remaining 20% in Jamaica. We started supplying limestone for construction and industry and moved into limestone for plastics and paints. We have also moved into animal feed products and currently supply chicken farmers and fertilizer additives with screened and sized limestone. There are over 300 different uses for limestone and we have only tapped into seven. In 2018, we are considering entering into the pharmaceutical sector with our limestone products. However, we need additional funding. All foreign investors would like to keep plants in their country, and foreign capital as opposed to local lending is key in the mining industry.