The re-opening of ALPART/JISCO Alumina Refinery in Nain St. Elizabeth that is set for June 20 is said to be on track. But Transport and Mining Minister, Lester ‘Mike’ Henry is leaving nothing to chance. He visited the plant on Thursday to get a first-hand view of the heightened preparatory activities that are creating a buzz in the once sleepy rural township of Nain and its surroundings.
According to Minister Henry, his visit is to ensure that all the critical and necessary activities to make the deadline a reality are met. He met and greeted several workers on the job and encouraged them to do all they can in order make the deadline.
He said given JISCO’s large investment and plans to develop the agricultural sector in St Elizabeth, once the bread basket of Jamaica, he is leaving nothing to chance and no stones unturned until the refinery is fully operational.
Minister Henry says, the economic benefits of the plant’s reopening are already being felt, as over 500 jobs have been added to the workforce and this is projected to climb to over 700 by the start-up date. He says once fully operational JISCO could be spending approximately 171 million Jamaican dollars monthly on salaries. The Minister says he is fully satisfied with the progress made so far and encouraged JISCO to ensure that ALPART’s enviable safety record is kept intact ,while they engage the communities to build a solid relationship, even as they correct 7-10 year legacy issues they have inherited.
Turning to the employment ratio of Jamaicans to Chinese, Minister Henry says, majority of the 267 JISCO workers are here temporarily to work alongside the Jamaicans in the preparatory stages and after the startup of the plant most of them will return to China.