‘The long term future of the industry is as shiny as the metal itself’ concluded then Prime Minister Hon. Bruce Golding and other speakers after the 15th staging of the International Bauxite and Alumina Seminar that was hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort in Montego Bay in 2009.
However statistics from Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) for the 2013 Jan-Feb period of the bauxite industry output when compared to 2012 indicate total bauxite production falling 2% to 1,063,760 metric tonnes. Alumina output fell by a startling 7 % to 288,815 metric tonnes while crude bauxite output fell only by less than 1 % to 774,945 metric tonnes.
In light of the downturn in the global aluminium industry, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) is currently deliberating with UC Rusal to finalise a timeline for the reopening of the Alpart (100% owned by the company) and Kirkvine (operated by Windalco which the company has 93% stake) bauxite plants which have been closed since 2009.
Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining said that the exorbitant price for energy is a major hindrance in the reopening of the plants.