Executive Intelligence Review


Chinese Province To Invest and Build Industrial Park in Jamaica

Feb. 21, 2018 (EIRNS)—China’s northwestern province of Gansu signed a Framework Agreement with the Jamaican government on Feb. 8 to invest up to $6 billion to develop an industrial park and special economic zone alongside the Alpart bauxite mine and smelter in the southwest of Jamaica owned and operating by the Gansu-headquartered Jiuquan Iron and Steel Co. (JISCO).

It is the largest foreign investment ever made into Jamaica, and the first overseas investment ever made by the province of Gansu—and both sides are enthusiastic about this project which both view as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Few details have been released about the industrial park plans, but among them is construction of a new alumina smelter at Alpart. The plan

“is intended to move Jamaica from exporting raw materials to developing value-added manufacturing and fabrication industries, led by the bauxite/mineral sector,”

the release on the agreement states.

China’s TV network CGTN reported in Feb. 16 that Ambassador Niu Qingbao had earlier said that manufacturing and modern agriculture on post-mining land will be the focus of the zone, quoting Niu that

“that means hundreds of industrial jobs, decent income for thousands of farmers, better trade terms and better supply of vegetables, beef and dairy.”

The agreement was signed in Jamaica between Gansu Vice Governor Huang Qiang and Jamaica’s Minister of Mines Lester Henry. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica Niu, the chairman of JISCO, and “top brass” from China Construction company and COSCO Shipping were all there—suggestive of the scope of productive activity envisioned. Preliminary political and administrative work is to begin immediately, so that the next phase can be announced in September, at the Premier Construction Conference in Gansu next September.

JISCO purchased the Alpart bauxite mines and 1.6 million ton alumina refinery in July 2016. The complex had been closed since 2009, in the aftermath of the global crash. Vice Governor Huang said at the time that “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 the ‘Belt and Road’ and further promote international cooperation that is in line with our nation’s industrial policy.” JISCO upgraded the plant, restarted operations last October, and the first shipment of 35,000 tons of alumina from Alpart arrived at Lianyungang port on Feb. 5.