Noranda Puts New Life into Bauxite Mining: A New, Game-Changing Public-Private Partnership, Shows How Jamaica's Mining Industry Is Getting Back on Track through a More Collaborative and Creative Focus, and Partnership

Foreign Policy, September-October 2017 | Go to article overview

Noranda Puts New Life into Bauxite Mining: A New, Game-Changing Public-Private Partnership, Shows How Jamaica's Mining Industry Is Getting Back on Track through a More Collaborative and Creative Focus, and Partnership


Jamaica's bauxite industry is back in business, with new player Noranda Bauxite/New Day Aluminum (Jamaica) aggressively developing new customers and markets, as it sets a new path for a 50-plus-year-old bauxite company and Jamaica's only bauxite exporter. The bauxite and alumina industry was a fraction of its former self mainly due to reduced global demand and pricing since 2009. Closure loomed for Noranda Bauxite, a mining operation in St. Ann's Parish capable of producing up to 5.2 million metric tons of bauxite ore per year. At similar risk was the 1.2 million metric tons per annum Noranda Alumina refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana, USA, consumer of half of the mine's production capacity. Up stepped New Day Aluminum, an affiliate of DADA Holdings, which purchased the Noranda bauxite and alumina operations in late 2016, avoiding the closure of the facilities and initiating a new path forward.

DADA Holdings is no stranger to aluminum, with principals and industry veterans David D'Addano, Monte Schaefer, Thomas Robb and Robert Ericson having led the development of the world's third largest producer of aluminum can stock for the beverage and food industries. Their creative and entrepreneunal approach is also becoming evident in their newest venture.

In a groundbreaking public-private partnership (PPP), the Jamaican government and New Day Aluminum's relationship extends beyond Jamaica's borders, as the government will receive 17.33% of the combined profits of the Jamaican bauxite operation and the US alumina facility. The company is extremely excited about prospects in Jamaica and the government's approach to the partnership, and is working hard to derisk the business and position it for growth. The government sees it as a pioneering PPP and a great model for future innovative partnerships. Jamaica gains more than just profits, as it has saved over 800 jobs and one of the country's largest earners of foreign exchange, which pumps about $80 million into the economy every year, via wages, taxes, royalties and local purchases.

The new owners and managers have been busy creating a new route to excellence. Considerable amount of funds in both the Jamaica and Louisiana facilities to upgrade asset bases, increase reliability and position the business for long term sustainability. The US refinery has increased chemical-grade volume and customers, as well as worldwide smelter-grade customer numbers. It has also recently announced a long-term supply agreement with the largest US aluminum smelting company, further expansion of its chemical-grade business and the introduction of new filter press technology to reduce costs and improve its environmental footprint. …

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