October 3, 2012 / 3:55 PM / in 5 years

Russia's Rusal to invest $100 million in Jamaica operations

KINGSTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Russia’s Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer, will invest $100 million in a coal-fired electricity generating plant in Jamaica, hoping to reduce power costs at its operations in the Caribbean country.

Jamaica’s Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell announced the company’s plan during an appearance before parliament on Tuesday.

Rusal controls 65 percent of Jamaica’s alumina production capacity and operates three of the island’s four alumina refineries.

Jamaica is rich in bauxite, the raw material that makes alumina, which is used to produce aluminium. It also suffers from high production costs because of its dependence on imported oil.

A fall in the global price of alumina and rising production costs have idled two of Rusal’s plants in Jamaica.

The new power plant will be built near the Ewarton plant, which is still operating. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin next year and be completed by 2015, Paulwell said.

In July, Rusal denied reports it planned to shut down Ewarton.

Rusal, which has been operating in Jamaica since 2007, owns a 93 percent stake in Ewarton, and the Jamaican government owns the remaining amount, which it intends to put up for sale.

Rusal accounted for approximately 9 percent of global production of aluminium and alumina and sells it products primarily in European, North American and Asian markets, according to the company.

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