Business

Noranda pumps US$11m into Port Rhodes harbour expansion

BY CAMILO THAME Business co-ordinator thamec@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012    

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NORANDA aluminium plans to start a US$11 million ($970 million) expansion of its harbour capacity at Port Rhodes in Discovery Bay this year. The local investment, along with plans to build a US$45-million rod mill in the US, proved attractive "because their value-creation is largely independent from LME aluminium prices", according to the Layle "Kip" Smith.

"The opportunity to further expand harbour capacity in Port Rhodes represents not only a value-creating investment in our existing bauxite operation, but also an investment in our long-term relationship with the Government of Jamaica," said Noranda's president and CEO.

The project, which follows on a US$6-million investment that raised the pier's capacity from 4.5 million tonnes to 5.4 million tonnes a year in early 2011, consists principally of harbour dredging and focuses on further reducing costs and providing greater flexibility for shipping activities.

Last month, Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners' President Pansy Johnson told the Jamaica Observer that the project would start somewhere between fourth quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013.

Then she said the timing of the start of the project would depend on the availability of the required specialised equipment and the dredging method that will be employed.

"There are a limited number of companies and limited units that will be able to handle this project," she said.

In its filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US, Noranda said that it expects to initiate spending on this phase in late 2012 and to complete the project during late 2013.

Executives of Noranda Aluminium (which owns 49 per cent of NJBP) told the Observer in 2010 that it plans to invest US$150 million in the operation between 2010 and 2014.

Johnson believes they are still on target to meet the investment commitment running into 2014.

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