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China's Jiuquan Iron & Steel boosts Jamaican economy

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

08-11-2016 16:06 BJT

By Vicki Cann, PhD Candidate at Communication University of China

Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) based in Gansu Province,northwest China has purchased Alpart Bauxite-Alumina Refinery in Jamaica, which was formerly owned by a Russian company, UC Rusal, but the Bauxite Alumina Plant had slowed down and Jamaicans were losing jobs.

Accordingly with JISCO's Chinese technology, it is estimated that about two million tons of alumina will be produced per annum with plans to construct a smelter to maximize production at 500,000 tons of aluminum. JISCO will pour US$2 billion into the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Several officials from China and Jamaica had appeared at the signing ceremony in Beijing. 

Gansu Vice Governor Huang Qiang, said JISCO is a large state owned enterprise and a backbone of his province. The company owns 1.7 million tons of electrolytic aluminum production capacity. He noted the acquisition of Alpart is in keeping with the "Belt & Road" initiative to strengthen China's international ties.

"Jamaica is the focus for China to carry out production cooperation in the Caribbean area … the acquisition of Rusal Alpart Alumina Refinery, is a critical measure for Gansu Province to carry out the strategy of 'Belt & Road' and further promotes international cooperation that is in line with our nation's industrial policy … [JISCO] will ensure that the alumina refinery assumes production as soon as possible. This will promote economic development in Jamaica and boost domestic employment," said Huang. 

Mr. Chen Chun-ming, Chairman of JISCO, also spoke of his company's role in upholding the "Belt and Road" initiative while promising to respect Jamaican laws.

"JISCO strictly upholds the important strategic opportunities of the national 'Belt & Road' … The acquisition of Rusal Alpart Alumina Refinery surely will lay a solid foundation for the future development of JISCO. We highly appreciate Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer, which has made great contribution to the development and maintenance of the Alpart Alumina Refinery."

He added, "After the acquisition we promise, in the Alpart's operation, we will pay respect to Jamaican market guidelines, corporate governance rules and requirements of environmental protection while also respecting Alpart’s corporate culture and management team and improving the refinery's profitability," said Chen.

In response, Jamaica's Minister of Transport and Mining the Hon. Lester Mike Henry thanked Huang and Chen for their roles in deepening business ties.

"Jamaica has enjoyed a long, established and favorable relationship with the People's Republic of China and the prospect of JISCO establishing an Aluminum Smelter Plant in Jamaica is welcomed with open arms, and despite the challenges. We look forward to a successful and mutually beneficial relationship with your company, as we go forward," said Henry.

During the first phase, 700 people will be hired as early as October this year. JISCO has completed its field assessment and working on the design. Within a six – nine month period the company would have completed the bulk of the plant's renovation work.

2,800 people are expected to work full-time upon completion of the facility with 70 percent of the labor force Jamaicans and the rest Chinese. Dr. Alwin Hales explained the economic impact for Jamaica.

"This is by far one of the largest investments that will be undertaken by any international company in Jamaica in my living memory, and it will have tremendous spinoffs both directly and indirectly. JISCO's involvement in Jamaica will significantly boost and impact the neighboring businesses and communities that are especially located around the plant. Only when the plant closed initially did people realize the significant impact that the plant was having on those areas," said Dr. Hales.

He added, "I am looking forward to seeing the Alpart Plant taking off again ...I am committed to facilitating more joint venture companies, more work in parallels from country-country.  This is about the joint development of Jamaica and China."

Such efforts highlight how Beijing is trying to overcome the challenges of its excess production capacity of steel, while helping developing nations build vital infrastructure to boost cross-border trade and investment. 

Jamaica has struggled to rise into prosperity and with China's economic aid, they can partner together with win-win mutual benefits.

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 

 

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