Jamalco alumina refinery’s operating entities plan to incorporate before they begin seeking the capital needed for further growth. Such was the message coming from its leadership in an interview earlier this month.
Jamalco’s Managing Director Austin Mooney said such a move would open the door to investments from abroad.
“We are a non-incorporated joint venture, so we are not a legal entity. The legal entity is Clarendon Alumina Partners and Century. In Jamaica, we are well known, and people understand our values. We have a reputation and can secure credit. If we want to secure credit outside Jamaica and you are not a legal entity, then it will never happen.”
He went on to say that the push for incorporation was not strictly in order to raise funds, and that it is progressing at a rapid rate.
“We are working with Century and with CAP. We had a big session this afternoon where we went through the whole portfolio of projects looking to see the justification for each project and where it fits.”
Ultimately, incorporation would remove the joint venture obligations to Jamaica’s government, who own 45 percent of the joint venture at present.
Another issue that the Jamalco alumina refinery must address is its ongoing energy needs. When the refinery restarted last summer, it was powered via diesel, not natural gas as it had been before. The move was made in order to avoid the rapid increase in natural gas prices occasioned by the war in Ukraine.
“Europe relied heavily on Russian gas, and once that gas was shut off, all the available gas in the Americas was shipped off to Europe. So there was a shortage of LNG, and the prices went up. What’s happening now is that the storage in Europe is now full, and now we are starting to see that price come back to normal.”
“[In the future], we will have dual fuel, and now we are talking to New Fortress Energy about supplying gas again,” continued Mooney.
Currently the alumina refinery is converting to fuel oil, with plans to be mostly completely converted by the end of the year.