This is a conflict on a coal fired power plant, and at the same time could become a conflicts on bauxite mining. In July 2016 it was reported (4) that "Russian mining company signed a deal for the US$300-million sale of its 1.6-million-tonne Alpart alumina refinery in Jamaica to China’s Jinquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO). In a separate pact with the Jamaican Government, JISCO agreed to the rehabilitation and expansion of the plant and its conversion to 500,000-tonne-a-year aluminium smelter. The inking of the agreements happened in Beijing, where Jamaica’s mining minister, Mike Henry, and his energy colleague Andrew Wheatley have been having talks with Rusal, JISCO, as well as the Development Bank of China. The bank, according to Gleaner Business sources, has signalled a willingness to commit, over the next several years, up to US$2 billion to the project. An abundance of cheap energy is a critical ingredient in aluminium smelting, and its absence in Jamaica has been a barrier to the country’s ambition to convert its bauxite through all the stages to the production of the metal. After 2008, Alpart refinery was mothballed for seven years in face of a soft market for alumina " (4).
Opposition arose to the proposed coal fired power plant. The 1,000-MW coal-fired plant to be built by the Chinese company Jiuquan Iron & Steel at Nain, St Elizabeth would be linked to the upgrading of bauxite-aluminium manufacturing. Environmentalists said "No to Coal-Fired Power Plant in Jamaica". (1). More than 21,000 people signed a petition opposing coal-fired power in Jamaica. The #SayNOtoCoalJA initiative, being led by theJamaica Environment Trust (JET), is calling on the Government of Jamaica not to turn to coal as a fuel source for industrial development here. In July 2016, the Jamaican Government announced the sale of the old Alpart bauxite plant at Nain in St. Elizabeth to Jiuquan Iron & Steel Company Limited (JISCO) of China, as well as a 2 billion dollar investment in an industrial zone, powered by a 1000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant, creating 3,000 jobs. JET wants the government instead to continue the transition to a new energy future for Jamaica, as outlined in many government documents which emphasise energy conservation, renewables and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transitional fuel for the Jamaica, a nation of 2.7 million people. “Coal-fired plants have several negative impacts on public health and the environment,” said JET’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Diana McCaulay. “Coal plant emissions cause respiratory illness in humans, and affect the environment by creating acid rain and contributing to global climate change.” “Coal, in fact, is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels,” said McCaulay. “It emits greater quantities of carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels.” Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions represent the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are blamed for climate change.
A modern coal-fired plant emits 762 kilograms of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generated, if there is no CO2 capture. The 1000 MW plant alone would emit roughly 6.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year, just over half of Jamaica’s 2025 target under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Jamaica was among 150 nations to sign the Paris Agreement, which signalled the commitment of the international community to combat climate change. “The building of the proposed coal-fired plant would be in direct contradiction to that agreement,” said McCaulay.
Coal-fired power plants also typically emit a host of other pollutants besides carbon dioxide. The possible mercury, lead, arsenic, sulphur dioxide, dust and soot emissions associated with a coal-fired power plant also have significant impacts on public and environmental health.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 59 percent of all sulphur dioxide and 18 percent of all oxides from nitrogen emissions come from coal-fired power plants. Another environmentalist, Wayne Chen, described the proposed plant as “short-sighted”, adding that it poses danger to residents in the vicinity of the plant. “While there will be immediate gains for the owners, in particular, and for the country, the extent to which is still not clear, the losses in the long run will cancel these gains,” he explained. “Contrary to popular belief, Jamaica’s greenhouse gas emissions are not insignificant. In 2011, our emissions, based on World Bank data, compared with those of Uruguay in South America and Georgia in Europe. With an additional 1,000 MW coal plant, our GHG emissions will more than double...". , e
For his part, Jamaican Energy Minister Andrew Wheatley dismissed the disquiet over reports of the coal plant as much ado about nothing. "Where we are right now, we have not received any application, any proposal, as it relates to a coal-fired plant at Alpart,” Wheatley told IDN. (1). Meanwhile, it was asserted (2) that "Coal is the only feasible option for a 1000-megawatt power plant being contemplated for the new owners of bauxite alumina company, Alpart. So said former Chairman of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute and Co-Chair of the Energy Monitoring Committee, Dr. Carlton Davis. The Chinese-owned Jiquan Iron and Steel, JISCO, was finalizing arrangements to take over Alpart, as part of a planned USD$2-billion investment in Jamaica. There’s been opposition to JISCO’s intention to build a 1000-megawatt coal-fired plant to run its operations. But Dr. Davis says coal is the only feasible option." (2) . At the end, by November 2017, it was said that "It'a LNG and not coal for Alpart plant". (5)