The government of the western Chinese province of Gansu has signed a framework agreement to invest up to US$6bn in an industrial park in Jamaica.
The scheme would take advantage of a special economic zone in the southwest of the island, which already contains a bauxite mine owned by the Gansu-owned Jiuquan Iron and Steel (Jisco) near the town of Nairn.
The project is the largest foreign investment in Jamaica’s history, and the first foreign venture of Gansu, a relatively underdeveloped province by Chinese standards, best known for being on the path of the planned "new silk road".
The government of Jamaica sees the scheme as a "game changer", allowing its economy to capture more of the value chain from the bauxite industry by refining and manufacturing aluminium goods.
Jisco already operates one smelter, and last year announced that it was planning to spend $1bn in building another.
The agreement was signed by Tang Renjian, the governor of Gansu Province, and Lester Henry, Jamaica’s minister for transport and mining. The signing was witnessed by Andrew Holness, the island’s prime minister, who appointed Horace Chang, a minister without portfolio, to expedite the development of the project.
The ceremony was also attended by managers from Chinese construction companies, Costco Shipping, and the Chinese ambassador to Jamaica.
Both parties agreed to set the administrative process in motion immediately, and to announce the next phase after a meeting in China in September.
Image: Gansu’s involvement with Jamaica began after Jisco took over the Alpart bauxite mine in November 2016 (Government of Jamaica)Â
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