Jamaica News: Stage one of the rehabilitation and upgrading programme at Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart had been rescheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2020.
This was disclosed by Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, during his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral debate in the House of Representatives on July 16.
He said the project “will result in production moving from the current level of 800,000 tonnes of alumina per annum, to a projected two million tonnes per year, providing critical raw material input for potential occupants of the Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park (JGIP)”.
The breaking of ground for the industrial park was originally scheduled for the first quarter of 2019, by which time the initial programme of rehabilitation and upgrading of the existing power plant and refinery at Alpart was expected to have been completed.
Mr. Henry noted that unreliable production, combined with a significant overall fall in alumina prices over the last two years, from a high of US$700 per tonne to the current level of below US$400 per tonne, has impacted the timeline for the JGIP.
“The consequent refocusing of direction and resources has resulted in a reprogramming of many elements of the Alpart refinery programme, including the proposed new power house and LNG facility at Port Kaiser, which are critical to the development of the JGIP,” he noted.
“As a consequence, the JGIP has also been rescheduled for after the completion and commissioning of the upgraded refinery and rehabilitated power plant and a new approach is being examined in order to facilitate LNG,” he said.
The railway from the plant to the port is being upgraded, and the port will be refurbished to accommodate the increased level of alumina production, which is necessary to drive the anchor facilities in the industrial park.
The refurbished and expanded port facilities will support the materials coming in and products going out of the industrial park, as companies develop their operations within the proposed special economic zone.
“Notably also, is that 52 Jamaican engineers, who received specialised training from JISCO in China, have returned to employment at Alpart. Twenty-five of them were trained in powerhouse management, and 27 in refinery management,” Mr. Henry said.
He said it is anticipated that the increased production of the upgraded refinery at two million tonnes of alumina per year, and the improved efficiency of the rehabilitated power plant, will impact profitability at the plant, on which much of the operations of the industrial park will depend.
The vision of the JGIP is for an expansive special economic zone supported by the production of the Alpart refinery, to supply aluminium sheets and plates for the manufacturing of end-products.
These include aluminium foil and aluminium sidings and roofing sheets for buildings, and intermediary products such as extrusions for casings of refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves.
Source: JIS News
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