Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says he is confident that the Alpart bauxite and alumina plant at Nain, in St Elizabeth, will re-open soon, as discussions with U C Rusal, the majority share- holders and operators of the plant, are going well.
Addressing a Rural Electrification Programme (REP) lighting ceremony, in Powell Town, Southfield, St. Elizabeth, on November 28, the Minister said the latest round of discussions with representatives of U C Rusal took place on November 27, and that another is scheduled for the near future.
“We have to get Alpart re-opened, we have to get our bauxite/alumina back to where it was, and we have to get employment going. I have said to the representatives of UC Rusal, what you have there is precious to us, you have good reserves, and we cannot afford to keep the place locked down,” he said.
The parish of St. Elizabeth has been affected economically, since the closure of the processing plant in 2009.
Mr. Paulwell emphasised that before the end of this year, a date and schedule for the re-opening of the plant must be established.
State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson (2nd right), examines information in a resource document November 28, 2012 opening of a two-day energy workshop at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. Also looking at the document are (from left): Principal Director of the Energy Division in the Ministry, Fitzroy Vidal; Facilitator, Dr. Yvonne Barton; and Edgar Wiggins, also from the Ministry.
The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), has brought together stakeholders from a wide cross section of public and private sector agencies, to participate in discussions on the introduction of natural gas as a means of diversifying Jamaica
It forms part of ATL’s new thrust to offer energy-efficient solutions to Jamaican homes and businesses.
“There has been a prominent call for homes and businesses to ‘go green’ with several local government agencies and financial institutions supporting ventures in alternative energy. With the Nimrod distribution, ATL is bringing the best of Israel’s solar technology to Jamaican shores,” said ATL’s Energy and Engineering Manager Paul Grey in the release.
ATL said that the Nimrod product ideally captures natural light whilst protecting against rust which develops after exposure to ‘hard water‘.
“In the Caribbean, we are prone to ‘hard water’ – that is water with mineral elements. Nimrod coats their piping with enamel which prevents mineral deposit build-up and ultimately extends the life of the heater, ensuring savings for customers,” said Grey. “We are pleased that Nimrod has chosen to permeate the Jamaican market. We think the time is right and that Jamaicans are ready to invest,” Grey stated.
ATL is owned by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
Solar water heaters have grown in popularity since the 1990s, especially within resorts as a means of reducing electricity costs.
ATL will be going up against companies such as longstanding player Isratech Jamaica, which also distributes solar heaters in partnership with an Israeli company, Chromagen.
Isratech Jamaica has, since the 1990s, imported the finished water heaters for local sale but this month announced plans to start local production of heaters. It will import the components from Chromagen and assemble the heaters at its plant at Kendal in Mandeville once it finalises a J$15-million plant expansion.
The terms of ATL’s deal with Nimrod were not disclosed, neither did ATL respond to requests for comment up to press time on the type of investment and infrastructure that will surround its new product line.
In 2004, Trinidad and Jamaica agreed on an arrangement that would have seen the Caribbean neighbour supplying some 1.1 million tonnes of LNG per year into Jamaica, beginning in 2009. However, the deal fell through after Trinidad pulled out, citing the unavailability of the product as a result of existing contractual arrangements and problems over the development of a new gas field they share with Venezuela.
Following reports that Trinidad made a major natural gas discovery off the island’s south-east coast, Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell was questioned in Parliament this week whether Government would step up the pressure on the twin-island republic to honour the LNG agreement. However, Paulwell indicated that discussions with Trinidad had not been very positive and reportedly said that Jamaica could be abandoning the deal as a result.
However, this has peeved the JMA, which noted that it has been advocating for years for the supply of LNG from Trinidad at preferential prices to create a level playing field for Jamaica’s manufacturing sector.
“The supply of LNG from Trinidad was a key strategy in the provision of a cheaper source of energy from the Jamaica Public Service. In light of talks that Jamaica may no longer be pursuing LNG from Trinidad, the JMA is demanding answers from the Government. Is it a done deal?” asked the JMA, noting that the group has been in discussions with three different industry ministers
RUSAL should declare a timeline for Alpart‘s reopening before the end of the year, says Phillip Paulwell.
The Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining expressed confidence that Alpart’s bauxite and alumina plant at Nain, St Elizabeth will reopen soon. He was upbeat after meeting with representatives of UC Rusal, the majority shareholders and operators of the plant, this week. Discussions with the firm are going well, with another meeting set for the near future, he said.