Construction plans at JAMALCO is proceeding as scheduled according to Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke. The Finance Minister confirmed the progress at the damaged bauxite and alumina plant to the country’s House of Representatives earlier this week.
Clarke told Opposition spokesperson Phillip Paulwell that reconstruction will begin later this summer and be carried out in three phases. The first phase will have the plant powered via steam boilers and is expected to bring it back to 50 percent production capacity.
“It is expected that mining operations and associated jobs will begin to be restored in the weeks prior to the resumption of production.”
Clarke said that September should see the plant at full production, ending phase two of the project. The third phase would be building a new power plant, which Clarke hopes to have completed by 2024. The Jamaican government is currently reviewing options for the replacement power plant.
Clarke indicated that the government has made a claim against the insurer of the site for the entire policy of US$250 million to help cover rebuilding costs.
“The insurance policy has many layers, and a consortium of insurers and reinsurers provided coverage for different layers of insurance, and in different amounts. If the meaning of settlement is whether full payment has been made, then the answer would be ‘not yet’, as payment is expected to be made over time as JAMALCO rebuilds and restores. However, the expectation is that the claim will be settled in full over the course of time.”
As of mid-January the insurance firm has paid out US$68 million, which is being used to fund clean up and the first phase of site restoration. Clarke said the plant is working to put into place measures to make sure the insurance money is being used strictly for those purposes.
“This is necessary for future insurance payments to be released from the insurers to JAMALCO,” he explained.