Noranda and the Jamaican government reached an agreement this week on bauxite levy payments on exported ore.
Transport and Mining minister Robert Montague announced the accord with Noranda’s parent company Concord Resources Holding Limited. The agreement was one of several arising from negotiations between Concord and the Jamaican government, as Concord is a new joint partner in New Day Aluminum (Jamaica) Limited.
Concord Resources acquired its interest in Noranda from DADA Holdings earlier this year. The firm owns 49 percent of Noranda at present, with the Jamaican government holding the balance.
Montague says the parties achieved two main agreements: that the bauxite production levy (BPL) would be reinstated, and that Noranda would pay US$3.4 million in asset usage fee debt. He said half the fee has been paid already, with the balance expected by the end of this month.
“These funds would have been paid earlier had Hurricane Ida not impacted the company’s operations in Louisiana on Sunday, August 29,” he explained to Jamaican legislators.
“There are various other matters that have been discussed and agreed. However, given the nature of the negotiations, I will refrain from speaking on them,” he went on.
Those negotiations are scheduled to resume on October 6, said Montague. Among the topics of discussion will be a more permanent agreement as to the bauxite levy. For its part, the Jamaican government pledges to push for more stable payments of the levy.
Over the summer Minister of Finance and the Public Service Nigel Clarke warned that the state may be forced to litigate in order to achieve a steady payment of the bauxite levy after the coronavirus crisis subsides.
“The minister has been very clear on his position as far as that is concerned and it is a position that I support, and we will be working to make sure that what you have outlined is what is achieved. But it won’t be easy, and we may have to resort to legal action, if necessary.”