A task force has been established to address any fallout in bauxite operations from United States (US)-applied sanctions, which have affected the Russian owned company UC Rusal.
Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, who made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral debate in the House of Representatives on May 30, said the taskforce will examine “options and possibilities.”
The body includes representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Attorney General’s Chambers and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute.
The sanctions, which were applied by the US on April 18, will affect operations at the Windalco plant in Ewarton.
“We are consulting with the US Government, the Russian Embassy and UC Rusal. We will update the country in a more fulsome way very soon. Discussions are at a very delicate stage,” Mr. Montague said.
“We are aware of some of the challenges but we cannot yet show our full hand. We have also moved to protect the interests of our citizens and their assets,” he added.
Mr. Montague said the Government has had a series of consultations with the stakeholders with three principles in mind: protecting the workers’ jobs; protecting the environment; and safeguarding the country’s economy.
He told the House that the Government has revoked the mining permits around some of the lands at Kirkvine.
“We have kept the lines of communications open to all stakeholders as we seek to find a solution. This is a Jamaican matter and we must find a solution that suits Jamaica first. Let me be very clear; this crisis was not of our own making but we will rise to the challenge,” he stated.
“We will continue to lead the way in finding suitable accommodation to all the interests in this matter,” he added.