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Fire at Jamalco Plant Sends Alumina Prices Soaring

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A blaze at the firm’s facility in Jamaica sparked concerns that there will be shortages of the raw material.

A large fire broke out at the Jamalco bauxite refinery in Clarendon, Jamaica Sunday afternoon, leaving part of the facility in ruins and causing a panic in the global alumina market, according to local and international news organizations.

The blaze started around 3 p.m. in the refinery’s powerhouse, the Jamaica Star reported. Seven people received treatment for smoke inhalation, but no major injuries were logged.

Hong Kong-based industrial raw materials supply chain manager Noble Group Holdings Ltd., whose member company General Alumina Jamaica Ltd. is a co-owner of the Jamalco joint venture, called the incident a “major fire” in a release.

“The powerhouse produces power, compressed air, and steam for the alumina refining operations,” the company wrote. “No one was seriously injured in the incident. A full assessment of the damage will be done in the coming days to determine the cause of the fire and estimate the full extent of damage.”  

Prices for alumina climbed to a six-month high following the fire because of concerns that there may be shortages of the material, Reuters said Tuesday. The Jamalco facility reportedly produces up to 1.4 million tn/yr of alumina.

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