Bauxite and alumina: Noranda settles wage disputes

Bauxite & alumina

Noranda Bauxite has closed negotiations with three trade unions in Jamaica where it mines bauxite, following two years of disputes. The results are expected to reduce the threat of work stoppages over the coming years, with three separate agreements made lasting until 2022/2023.

Together, agreements with the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (UTASP), and the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) impact over 800 Noranda workers.

Noranda Bauxite operates in Jamaica via a 49%-owned subsidiary Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners; the majority 51% share is owned by the Government of Jamaica. It has a permit to mine bauxite in St Ann, Jamaica until 2030, where it produces both metallurgical and non-metallurgical bauxite. Bauxite is then shipped to the Gramercy plant in Louisiana, USA, operated by Noranda Alumina, much for refining into alumina (ultimately for use in aluminium), but some also for use in non-metallurgical applications.

Both Noranda Bauxite and Noranda Alumina are owned by New Day Aluminum Holdings, which acquired the assets from Noranda Aluminium in 2016. Since the acquisition, capacity at the Gramercy plant has been expanded considerably for alumina hydrate, with added filtration and drying equipment. Commissioning was completed in the fourth quarter of 2018. Following the expansion, total non-metallurgical capacity at the Gramercy plant is estimated to be 450ktpy (alumina content), of which more than 300ktpy is understood to be in the form of hydrate. The remaining capacity is for calcined alumina grades.

Noranda has expressed a commitment to be a continuing long-term supplier of non-metallurgical grades.

The tenth edition of Roskill’s report on non-metallurgical bauxite and alumina was released in December 2019 and includes analysis of recent industry trends in supply, demand, trade and prices, as well as providing forecasts over the next decade to 2029 and profiles of the main producers. Click here to download the brochure and sample pages for the report, or to access further information.

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This article was written by Suzanne Shaw. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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